What is Sensory Integration Disorder?

By JustMommies

Children with Sensory Integration Disorder have problems interpreting things they hear, see, smell, or touch. Sensory Integration Disorder occurs in the brains of children. The nervous system works by interpretting signals sent from the body through the nerves to the brain. These signals tell the brain to see, hear, smell, or feel. Children with Sensory Integration Disorder do not process these signals correctly. For example, they might process sounds very intensely and therefore startle easily. They may have problems with over sensitivity or under sensitivity to things they taste, feel, smell, see, or hear. Sensory issues are common in children with autism or ADHD.

Symptoms of Sensory Integration Disorder
Hypersensitivity Hyposensitivity
Taste
Extremely picky eater (may limit food choices to only two or three foods)
May gag on textured foods or may still be eating pureed baby food after he is two years old
Has difficulty chewing or swallowing
May be extremely picky about what temperature his food or drinks are
Refuses to brush teeth or allow parent to brush his teeth
Prefers bland foods
May try to eat inedible objects
Prefers foods with very strong tastes
Excessive drooling
Chews or sucks on things constantly (such as thumb sucking, chewing on pen caps or shirt collars)
Doesn’t distinguish tastes, may act like all foods taste the same

Smell
Reacts to smells that other people may not even notice
May not like the smell of perfume or cleaning supplies
May not like certain people because of the way they smell
May not notice unpleasant odors
Has difficulty distinguishing smells. May not be able to tell what something is based on how it smells.

Hearing
May get distracted by background noises (such as lawnmower outside, washer and dryers running, etc)
Doesn’t like to hear loud talking, music, or people singing
Startles or covers ears with loud noises or cries when he hears unexpected sounds
May get anxious with certain sounds such as hair dryer, vacuum, engine starting
May not respond when name is called
Enjoys making lots of noise, such as banging things together
Likes to listen to loud music or television
Tunes out sounds (for example, may be oblivious to dog barking or crying baby)
Can not distinguish where sounds are coming from. (For example, may not be able to find the telephone when ringing)

Vision
Sensitivity to lights
Easily distracted by toys and moving objects
Rubs his eyes frequently
Avoids eye contact
May be vision impaired or have poor vision
Has difficulty with learning letters and numbers or may get letters confused
Has difficulty distinguishing differences in size and proportion
May have problems doing puzzles, cutting, or sorting
Bumps into objects or misses steps when walking down stairs or on curbs

Touch and Movement
Startles or cries when touched or tapped unexpectedly
Does not like to be cuddled and held closely
Does not like to have diaper changed or clothes changed
Complains about brushing hair
Picky about what clothes he wears (may complain about tags or textures)
May not like water or messy play
May wipe hands or wash hands excessively (doesn’t like dirty or sticky hands)
May refuse to walk on certain surfaces without shoes
Excessively anxious about having fingernails cut or hair cuts
Does not like swinging movement (avoids swings, slides, and other moving playground equipment)
Fearful of elevators and heights
Does not like going up or down stairs
Clumsy and loses balance easily
May not notice being bumped into
Does not respond to falling down or getting hurt, rarely cries when injured
May not notice food left on face
Likes messy play
Likes to spin or rock (may spin around in circles and not get dizzy)
Likes to jump on furniture or beds

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