Sensory Integration Disorder
What signs do children with Sensory Integration Disorder exhibit?
A typical child with DSI will show one or more of the following signs:
- Overly sensitive to touch, movement, sights
- Inability to habituate to sounds and fear with unexpected noises
- Easily distracted
- Holding hands over ears in complex environment
- Avoids tastes, smells, or textures normally tolerated by children that age
- Activity level that is unusually high or unusually low
- Impulsive, lacking in self-control
- Inability to unwind or calm self
- Poor self-concept
- Social and/or emotional problems
- Physical clumsiness or apparent carelessness
- Hesitation going up or down stairs
- Difficulty making transitions from one situation to another
- Holding on to walls, furniture, people or objects, even in familiar settings
- Delays in speech, language, or motor skills
- Delays in academic achievement
- Seeks out movement activities, but poor endurance and tires quickly
Are there certain children that are more prone to sensory integration disorders than others?
Sensory Integration Disorder is common among children who have not been diagnosed with Autism, despite there being red flags. Although sensory disorders can be present in any child, studies indicate that approximately 70% of children with learning disabilities have sensory issues. Children with pervasive developmental disorders, such as autism, children born prematurely or who have had head trauma, ADHD, and children with anxiety disorders are also more prone to sensory issues.
What should I do if I suspect my child has SID symptoms?
Take note of the behaviors you are concerned about. We recommend keeping a journal in order to keep track of your thoughts and concerns. Speak to your child’s teacher about your concerns. Advise the teacher to be on the lookout for certain behaviors, and to keep in touch with you about this. Make an appointment to speak with your child’s physician. If your physician is also concerned he/she will often refer to a pediatric occupational therapist for an evaluation. You can also call us regarding any concern.
What should I do when the pediatrician makes a referral for an occupational therapy evaluation?
Call our office to schedule an appointment or see our general FAQ section.
Evaluation for Sensory Integration Disorder:
We specialize in sensory integration. We first gather information regarding:
- Reason for referral
- Parent interview/questionnaire
- Standardized Peabody Developmental Motor Scales tests
- Visual perceptual and visual motor integration testing
- Clinical Observation
- Non-standardized response to different sensory stimuli
- Coordination and motor planning
We will do a structured examination of the child’s responses to various sensory stimulation, checking for balance, fine and gross motor skills, coordination, and eye movements. Other tests may be done as well, such as developmental testing to be sure the child is developmentally standard. Based on the deficits found, activities will be done with the child to help the child react properly to sensory stimulation. Focus is on adaptive measures to help the child function more appropriately and feel more comfortable with the world around them. Most activities are fun to the children and they actually look forward to going to therapy!