Is your child overly clumsy? Are they frequently tripping over their own feet, falling, or bumping into things?
Does he or she press so hard when writing or colouring that the pencil point or crayon breaks?
Do they stomp instead of walk? Or have trouble sitting still?
These are all signs that your child may suffer from a sensory processing problem in their proprioceptive system.
Most sensory issues affect one of the five senses: sight, touch, sound, taste, or smell. Many times these issues overlap, involving multiple senses.
Think of the proprioceptive system as our “sixth sense”.
This system constantly provides our brain with feedback, telling it where the body is in relation to the space around it. It tells us how much force to use when petting an animal or writing on paper. It senses the height of steps so we know how high to lift our feet.
In children with proprioceptive issues, the system isn’t linking the brain and the body as it should. This faulty communication manifests in different ways and if not caught early, can delay the way a child matures when compared to peers.
An Occupational Therapist is best trained to spot and diagnose sensory processing issues. They will be able to observe and categorize the areas in which a child has problems.
A preschooler suffering from sensory processing difficulties may:
Signs that are specific to the proprioceptive system include:
The consequences of proprioceptive difficulties are many. They range from injury to self and others, to low self-esteem and lack of friends. Kids become frustrated easily and begin to notice they don’t fit in with their peers.
By addressing and treating these problems in the preschool years, you can prevent continued issues as your child gets older.
Treatment is available to improve these sensory issues, and to get it, most children with sensory processing difficulties work with Occupational Therapists who can assess and tailor make a program of support that meets their individual needs.
For kids who suffer from proprioceptive problems, treatment goals include desensitizing your child to certain stimuli and providing proper play and/or therapy exercises to satisfy your child’s sensory needs. This is their “sensory diet”.
Spotting the signs and symptoms of sensory processing difficulties when children are young helps them to mature in line with their peers. This increases their ability to “keep up”, not feel different, and maintain self-esteem.
If you have a “difficult” child who exhibits signs and symptoms of sensory processing difficulties, seek a professional assessment. The therapists at Kid’s First Children’s Services offer knowledgeable care to help kids overcome sensory issues.
If you have concerns or would like more information, please contact us.
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