Do you know children who hate wearing hats, jeans, socks or who hate going barefoot especially on grass or sand, getting dirty or sticking plasticine? Or perhaps you have a child who shuts his ears to loud noises, an eater or a little "wobbler" who trips and bumps into things? Or perhaps your child screams every day during combing or wakes up during the night because he or she has too much "space" in the bed?
Symptoms such as these may indicate a sensory integration disorder and require consultation with a sensory integration therapist.
There are of course many more symptoms of dysfunction.
Some children perceive stimuli too strongly - they are hypersensitive and therefore often avoid situations that are unpleasant for them, e.g. grooming, being in a large group, excessive noise. Such children give the impression of being very delicate and "untouchable" because they do not tolerate different textures, consistencies, do not like to be touched, react badly to sounds - they may plug their ears, scream or hide from sounds. The visually overactive often squint their eyes, do not like bright light, like to walk around in sunglasses or a baseball cap when the sun is shining. Children who are overly sensitive to gustatory and olfactory stimuli can have a vomiting reflex, or refuse to eat certain foods because of their taste or smell. We can also find toddlers who overreact to stimuli that come from movement - they in turn often avoid intense movement, are afraid of sudden changes in position, preferring static play.
Others perceive stimuli too poorly - they are hypersensitive and constantly seek appropriate sensory stimulation. Such a child gives the impression of not getting tired, not having enough to play with and they are forever wasting time sleeping. Their social interactions are often intrusive, and they often seek sensory input through methods that are not generally accepted.
Such a child excessively runs, jumps, wriggles on a chair, collides with other people or objects, rubs against others, is noisy and full of everything.
They put things in their mouths, smell things, food or people excessively. Children who need excessive visual stimulation seek visual experiences, e.g. looking for and staring at objects with flashing lights.
Sensory integration disorders impair the child's and the family's daily functioning - they do not grow out of them, and their consequences can be difficulties in processing sensory stimuli, school problems, low self-esteem or difficulties in social relationships. That is why it is so important not to ignore the signals that children send us - an early enough reaction from parents and cooperation with a therapist can completely solve or definitely alleviate the problems mentioned above