Interpreting Your Child’s Ability to Interpret Sensory Information

13 Jul

You need to understand what this means if you are going to be able to help your child.  This is a time of year when families may take vacation together or even if you are at home and not able to travel, you may be more likely to visit outdoor venues,  Can your child tolerate a busy amusement park, a trip to a theme park, going to a circus performance??  Is your child going to McDonald’s and refusing to eat crunchy french fries? Is your child  pulling back from you when you try to help them get dressed in the morning, pulling off his  or her socks  fanily visit to a very busy theme park for a child can be overwhelmingly wonderful or a very difficult one for a child who has difficulty with sensory integration.  Children with these problems may or may not have been identified for you by your therapist or a person who has evaluated your child.  It is good for you to be familiar with some of the behaviors that could point to this type of a problem and to understand what we mean when we talk about sensory integration issues.  It is easiest when I take you to my reference, the Kindle version of The Oxford Dictionary of English Language 

The word “sensory”:

origin: mid 18th century: from Latin sens-“perceived” (from the verb sentre) or from the noun SENSE + ORY

The adjective “sensory” relates to sensation or the physical senses (taste, touch, smell, vision and hearing) that are transmitted or perceived by the senses “sensory input” 

The word “integrate”

The next word “integration”  from the word integrate.  The word “integrate as defined by the Kindle version of The Oxford Dictionary of English Language 

origin:  is from mid 17th century from the Latin integrat “made whole”. 

The verb “integrate” means “to combine (one thing) with another to form a whole, combine (two things) so that the they form a whole i.e. the stone will blend with the environment and integrate with the environment.  

So, think of the five senses and then think about how you take information in from your surroundings and interpret in within your own body.  This is to what I am referring.  

 When I  evaluate a child, I will ask a parent how their child sleeps at night.  I may ask a parent about how the child acts when they are trying to change their diaper, when they go into a grocery store, when they are bathing the child-washing the child’s face, the child’s teeth, the child’s hands.  I also inquire about what happens when he child eats or drinks.  Children who have problems with functioning in any one of these areas may have difficulty with what professionals refer to sensory integration.  Don’t jump to a conclusion, please ask for an occupational therapist or speech-language pathologist who has training in this area.  Having this information will be helpful for you in obtaining the best treatment for your child and potentially in helping you how to help him or her in managing their behavior.  Your undersranding could actually prevent a temper tantrum that is inconsolable.  My own son, now fifteen is able to tell me “i am sensory mom…you know that”.  He can at this point describe the issues that affect him.   Consider that a potential goal for you as a parent could be empowering your child with the ability to recognize his or her triggers and then to have a “bag of tricks” that may enable better management of them. 

There are texts out there for parents and other caregivers, teachers and professionals.  Send a comment if you would like more information about this topic and for additional resources……

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