Sensory Processing Disorder in Toddlers - Signs, Symptoms and Treatment

Dealing With Sensory Processing Disorder in Toddlers

A 13-months-old baby with sensory processing disorder has a very diverse reaction to noise, textures and other things. However with timely diagnosis this can be easily treated with some therapy. Of course, with prompt care and guidance this disorder can be handled too.

As your child grows up, it’s imperative that he explores his surroundings and learn from his everyday encounters. But, if you find your child’s reaction to sounds, different colours and new textures a bit weird, chances are that he might be suffering from sensory processing disorder. However, there is no need to press the panic button. This can be easily treated with care and therapy.

What is Sensory Processing Disorder in Toddlers

Also known as sensory integration dysfunction, this is a disorder in which the brain is unable to process the signals and information that it gets from the sense organs. This results in the child being extremely sensitive to things like daily sounds, touch, or texture of food. Though the signs of sensory processing disorder are usually associated with other developmental problems like autism, health experts believe that this disorder can also occur by itself.

Causes of Sensory Processing Disorder

Though the exact cause has not been identified, studies have proved that more often SPD in toddlers is the result of a genetic disorder. Sometimes a lack of proper functioning of the brain is also its root cause. However, it has been proved that proper care and therapy can actually help kids overcome this disorder and lead a normal life.

Symptom Checklist for Sensory Processing Disorder

In case you cite two or more of these signs, you may want to consult a doctor.

  • Problems in eating new and textured food
  • Fear of strangers
  • Inability to sleep or remain asleep for long
  • Low tolerance to being clothed
  • Slow response to pain
  • Inability to quickly shift focus to a different thing
  • Hates intimacy
  • Startles easily
  • Clumsy
  • Restless
  • Delay in important milestones like standing, walking and running

Sensory Processing Disorder Diagnosis

In order to confirm that your little one is indeed suffering from SDP, a doctor would recommend you to see an occupational therapist who would run a few assessment tests like Sensory Integration and Praxis Test, Miller Function and Participation Scales. The therapist then compares the results of these tests with standard data to see any discrepancies.

Treatment for Sensory Processing Disorder

Occupational therapists have formulated some fun sensory activities for toddlers, known as sensory integration, which can actually help in curing this disorder. The activities generally involve getting the child acquainted to things he isn’t comfortable around. There are also activities that make him proficient in the normal day-to-day things that he finds hard to cope with. Once the child gets acquainted with these activities, the therapist invites the parents to set new challenges.

With time, patience, affection and care you can help even a 13-months-old baby with sensory processing disorder overcome it and lead a normal life like the other kids his age.

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