One of the most neglected areas of child development is the development of the senses. Very often, we are coming across kids with sensory disorders for no apparent reason. If not treated correctly, this results in the child facing difficulties academically, socially & physically. The sensory systems comprises of:
- Joint sense
- Movement &
All these together or individually give information which gets processed by the brain & then an appropriate response is produced. You must keep a watch on the development of these senses for your kids by ensuring that the responses exhibited by them are age-appropriate.
Some of the red flags for sensory disorders you could watch out for right in the early years are (this list is not exhaustive):
- The child may exhibit either hyper-responsiveness or under-responsiveness to touch, sight, sound or movement.
- May be extremely active or extremely lethargic.
- May perform tasks or movements in a complicated manner or may lose balance & have frequent falls.
- Shows fight or flight response when face is being touched, as in when washing his face, or when hair is being shampooed, combed or when receiving a haircut
- Is distracted, fidgety & inattentive when quiet concentration is expected.
- May prefer the same old routine & may have extreme intolerance towards a change of the same.
- Is very emotional & cannot tolerate if things do not go his way.
- Response to instructions is slow & may exhibit discomfort towards enquiry.
- Can be a picky eater with a preference to certain kinds of food only depending on textures & may exhibit issues with chewing.
Although, most kids would exhibit some of these symptoms, the important thing is to understand is that they should be age appropriate & integration should take place over a period of time. If these symptoms are identified at the right time, the child can be assisted to get over these with some sensory exercises ultimately resulting in integration & appropriate response to the stimuli. A child’s smooth development depends on smooth sensory processing.
If as a parent you are in doubt you should consult an occupational therapist or a sensory integration trained therapist. It’s important to understand that brain power or intelligence alone is not sufficient for organized daily functioning, if the underlying senses are not working well.
Dr Neeta Mehta is a pediatric therapist & a prenatal instructor. She deals with kids affected with cerebral palsy, autism, ADHD, Learning disabilities, sensory processing disorders & other neurodevelopmental disorders.
You can reach her on Tel: 9820367444 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Clinic Address: Sahas Physiotherapy & Wellness Centre, 215 Champaklal estate, Next to Sion Telephone Exchange, Sion E, Mumbai-400022