Efficient sensory processing involves the ability to appropriately register, attend to, interpret, and execute a response to sensory input from the environment and from within the body. When an individual is unable to process information from the senses efficiently, they are said to have a sensory processing impairment. Sensory processing impairments may manifest in a variety of ways and affect a child’s motor skills, learning, activity level, behavior, social, and emotional regulation.
For all of us, our mind and body are delicately connected. Every thought, feeling and action we experience occurs through complex interactions of our brain. How we process sensory information has a major impact on our behavior. The slightest change in our brain processes can influence how we cope with everyday life.
Children inherently want to play, learn, cooperate, make friends and be successful. This internal drive can become disrupted when certain areas of the brain that process sensory information do not seem to be making the connection that they should be. The behaviors that result can confuse, frustrate and sometimes anger parents, teachers, day-care providers and baby-sitters. But most importantly, they impact the child’s ability to feel comfortable in and successfully navigate their world.
Most children with sensory problems are born with these challenges. That’s why early intervention is so important for infants and toddlers. Treating ‘little’ issues early prevents them from becoming big issues later on.
Understanding how impaired sensory processing may be underlying a child’s
struggle is the first step in a family’s journey toward helping the child.