Sensory processing disorder can be a frustrating condition for children and their families. There is no cure for this condition, so families and those with sensory processing disorder learn the triggers and work hard to avoid sensory meltdowns. Children with sensory processing disorders can do well in daycare services as long as the daycare provider and the parents work together and recognize the unique situation they are facing.
What Is Sensory Processing Disorder?
Every child is unique and each one has their own quirks and personalities. When things go beyond silly or adorable and interfere with life, parents begin to look for explanations as to why their child can't calm down in some situations. Sensory processing disorder is what happens when the brain doesn't get the correct sensory signals. This condition presents itself as either hypersensitive or hyposensitive.
Children who have a hypersensitive sensory problem will have an explosive reaction to different types of stimulation. These children may have trouble with loud noises, they may have a fearful reaction to heights or situations that is so severe it can be crippling. A toilet being flushed or the dryer in a bathroom may result in screaming, crying and curling up into a ball on the ground.
Preventing meltdowns for children who are hypersensitive to sounds can be as easy as a pair of sound cancelling headphones to soften too loud noises. If they are afraid of heights, avoid meltdowns by suggesting activities that are low to the ground. For children who have meltdowns when faced with crowds, start by taking them to small events and slowly work up to larger crowds.
For these children, a daycare setting can be overwhelming if they aren't attending a daycare equipped to deal with these problems. Smaller groups and sensory tools such as a weighted blanket or tunnels for quiet space will really go a long way.
Those who are hyposensitive have an under-responsiveness to stimuli. Children who are hyposensitive will seek out sensory interactions such as needing to touch items repeatedly and will not stop when asked. They may have trouble with personal space boundaries, have a high pain tolerance or may accidentally hurt others because they don't understand how to be gentle. Daycare providers should be made aware of this condition and should have plenty of tactile sensory tools to help these children cope.
Hyposensitive meltdowns can be more difficult to prevent. For the children who seek constant textile interactions, creating a texture book with their favorite textures can help them from inappropriately touching walls or people. Invaders of personal space don't understand this concept at all. Trying to prevent a personal space boundary will mean constant reminders to step back and defining these boundaries many times.
Keeping track of what caused the meltdown will help the parents and daycare providers create a plan to prevent future meltdowns. Once the cause is outlined, it will be easier to avoid situations that cause problems. Sensory processing disorder is a lifelong condition, but with planning and knowledge, parents and daycare services can help their children deal with their condition with as little trouble as possible.
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