Is your child with autism over responsive to sensation which shows by withdrawing from touch, or getting upset by loud noises? Or is your child under responsive to sensations which shows by hyperactivity, unawareness of touch or pain, and likes loud sounds? Your child may have sensory integration dysfunction, which could be affecting their education and life. This article will discuss what sensory integration disorder is, and also about diagnosis.
Sensory integration refers to our ability to take in information through our senses (touch, movement, smell, taste, vision, and hearing), interpret that information, and respond to it. Sensory Integration Dysfunction (SID) is the inability of the brain, to correctly process information brought in by the senses. People with SID may misinterpret everyday sensory information such as touch, sound and movement.
Below are a few symptoms of SID:
1. Loves to spin, swing, jump-this may calm them down,
2.Complains that some clothing feels scratchy, or doesn't like tags,
3. Picky eaters-doesn't like how some foods feel in their mouth,
4.Over sensitive to smells or sounds-may sniff people or food-will frequently cover ears to sounds,
5. May have high pain tolerance,
6. Can be impulsive or distractible.
The Star Center puts out a checklist for Sensory Integration Dysfunction. The Star Center calls it Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). Below are a few items on the checklist:
1. Difficulty eating,
2.Resists cuddling or holding,
4.Over sensitive to stimulation,
5.Difficulty learning new motor tasks,
7.Overreacts to touch noise or smell,
8.Appears clumsy and stumbles a lot, and
9.Avoids visually stimulating environments.
SID could be affecting your child in many different ways. There are two separate types of SID: Sensory Avoiding and Sensory Seeking. Children with sensory avoiding do not like to be touched or cuddled, they are fearful of fast movement, are cautious and unwilling to take risks or try new things, are very pick eaters and do not like to be in loud or busy environments. Children with sensory seeking can have hyperactivity, unawareness of touch or pain, take part in unsafe activities, enjoy sounds that are too loud.
Children with Sensory Integration Dysfunction may also have motor skill problems. These children may have: 1.Poor fine motor skills, 2.Poor gross motor skills, 3.Difficulty imitating movements, 4.Trouble with balance, and 5.A preference for seating activities, such as video games.
To determine if your child has SID, they should be evaluation by a SIPT qualified occupational therapist (OT). Many school districts hire occupational therapists, but may not be SIPT qualified, and therefore not qualified to test in this area. You may need to advocate for your child to have them tested by a SIPT qualified OT.
Treatment for SID is occupational therapy, by a qualified therapist. Check with your school district to see if there OT has experience with Sensory Integration Disorder. If they do not, consider getting an Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE) with a SIPT qualified OT. Make sure that the evaluator makes specific recommendations on amount of therapy needed, goals and objectives.
By understanding what Sensory Integration Dysfunction is, how it is diagnosed and treated you may help your child. SID can negatively affect your child's life, but with proper treatment you child can reach their potential.
JoAnn Collins is the mother of two adults with disabilities, and has helped families navigate the special eduation system, as an advocate, for over 15 years. She is a presenter and author of the book "Disability Deception; Lies Disability Educators Tell and How Parents Can Beat Them at Their Own Game." The book has a lot of resources and information to help parents fight for an appropriate education for their child. For a free E newsletter entitled "The Special Education Spotlight" send an E mail to: JoAnn@disabilitydeception.com For more information on the book, testimonials about the book, and a link to more articles go to: http://www.disabilitydeception.com