Student Challenges

SENSORY ISSUES

It’s no mystery why school is a struggle for many kids who have sensory processing needs.  In fact, school may be one of the most sensory-rich experiences of childhood. Kids who are struggling with sensory issues in the classroom may have difficulty with regulating their behavior, paying attention, sitting still, listening to directions, and more. Suddenly, issues that may have once looked like “behavioral problems” have a whole new meaning as we gain a better understanding of the sensory responses that could be causing them. 

Addressing sensory-related behaviors isn’t always easy or cut and dry.  Often, for kids who have more significant sensory processing issues, it takes time, and lots of trial and error to get to the bottom of behaviors.  When everyone involved has a basic understanding of sensory issues, as a team you’re much better equipped to make sense of what’s really going on and get to the bottom of a child’s behaviors.

EDITORIAL: Getting to the Bottom of Sensory Behaviours

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Claire Heffron, The Inspired Treehouse

Wondering about how to address challenging sensory behaviors?  This simple 3-step approach can help! Today, we’ll take things a step further, learning how to uncover some of the possible “mystery” behind kids’ challenging sensory behaviors and how to create and tailor sensory activities to meet their specific sensory needs. 

 

To read more: https://theinspiredtreehouse.com/getting-to-the-bottom-of-sensory-behviors-3-step-formula/

When Sensory Over-Reactivity Underlies Behavioral Challenges

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Mona Delahooke

Grant, age four, was asked to leave two preschools because of misbehavior. With tousled brown hair, big brown eyes, and a playful spirit, he both charmed and confused most of the adults in his life. He had such difficulty following directions that his teachers had to reprimand him every few minutes. They described him as totally confusing, “adorable and sweet one minute, then breaking the rules the next.” Most challenging was that he typically laughed when he was disciplined. His behavior baffled everyone.

 

To read more: https://monadelahooke.com/when-sensory-over-reactivity-underlies-behavioral-challenges/

Discussing Sensory Issues: A Guide for parents and teachers

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Claire Heffron, The Inspired Treehouse

It’s no mystery why school is a struggle for many kids who have sensory processing needs.  In fact, school may be one of the most sensory-rich experiences of childhood. This helpful guide can facilitate a positive and constructive conversation between parents and teachers about a child’s sensory issues.

 

To read more: https://theinspiredtreehouse.com/discussing-sensory-issues-a-guide-for-parents-and-teachers/

Sensory Processing Disorder and Speech Problems

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Lauren Hagenbuch, The Inspired Treehouse

He gets upset and then I can’t understand anything he’s saying. She’s fine until she starts to get nervous, then she just ‘shuts down.’ When he’s too excited it’s hard to get him to focus to tell me what he wants. Do any of these remind you of a child that you know?  Not sure what’s causing the problem? It could be related to sensory processing! Learn how sensory processing disorder and speech problems can overlap (& how to help!) 

 

To read more: https://theinspiredtreehouse.com/sensory-processing-disorder-and-speech-problems/

Problems With Visual Processing

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Pam Braley, The Inspired Treehouse

There are many functions of the visual system that help our children grow, learn, and develop. These all individually play an important role.  From a sensory processing perspective, issues with vision may interfere with some children’s ability to successfully engage and participate in their environments.

 

To read more: https://theinspiredtreehouse.com/sensory-processing-visual-system/

Problems With Oral Sensory Processing

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Claire Heffron, The Inspired Treehouse

Some children struggle with processing and responding to the oral sensory information they encounter in everyday life.  They may have a heightened sensitivity (hypersensitivity or defensiveness) to oral input, causing them to be resistant to oral sensory experiences like trying new foods or brushing their teeth.  They may choke or gag during these experiences.

 

To read more: https://theinspiredtreehouse.com/sensory-processing-what-does-oral-sensory-mean/

Problems With Auditory Processing

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Pam Braley, The Inspired Treehouse

Difficulties arise when the brain does not accurately interpret and respond to auditory information. Our brains help us listen, process what we hear, and understand what has been said. Some children misinterpret information they hear or miss subtle information such as a single word. For example, the phrase “line up for recess” is quite different from “line up behind Tommy for recess.” If a child misses one small part of a direction, it can change his response entirely.

 

To read more: https://theinspiredtreehouse.com/sensory-processing-auditory-system/

Problems With Tactile Processing

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Claire Heffron, The Inspired Treehouse

Some children experience difficulty with processing the tactile information they encounter in everyday life.  They may be overly sensitive (hypersensitive) to tactile input, causing them to withdraw from or avoid certain tactile experiences.  To them, even the most simple touch experiences may be unpleasant or even painful.  Children who are hypersensitive to tactile input may avoid getting their hands or face messy, steering away from activities like fingerpainting, play dough, and even eating certain foods.  They may struggle with certain hygiene tasks, having extreme reactions or tantrums during toothbrushing, bathing, and haircuts. Tolerating certain types of clothing may be difficult.

 

To read more: https://theinspiredtreehouse.com/sensory-processing-tactile-system/

Problems With Vestibular Processing

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Pam Braley, The Inspired Treehouse

 When a child’s vestibular system is not functioning correctly, he may be under responsive or overly sensitive to movement. He may either need to move constantly to feel satisfied or he may be fearful of movement because it makes him feel insecure and unbalanced. He may move in an uncoordinated, clumsy manner, bumping into things, falling, and never fully walking or sitting in an upright manner. This is the child that slouches at his desk or is constantly being directed to “stand up straight” or “quit leaning on the wall!”  He may appear weak or “floppy.”

 

To read more: https://theinspiredtreehouse.com/vestibular/

Problems With Proprioceptive Processing

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Pam Braley, The Inspired Treehouse

Meet our friend Sam.  At school, Sam has a reputation for being the “rough kid”.  He pushes other kids in line, he writes and colors with heavy pressure, he plays aggressively with others on the playground.  In gym class, Sam doesn’t kick the ball to his partner, he kicks it as hard as he can.

 

To read more: https://theinspiredtreehouse.com/sensory-processing-proprioception/

Problems With Interoceptive Processing

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Claire Heffron, The Inspired Treehouse

 As with the other sensory systems, it’s possible that some children may experience a heightened sensitivity to the internal sensations in the body.  In one study, it was suggested that children with autism may have a heightened sensitivity to internal cues, specifically to their heartbeat, and it was proposed that their “attentional resources are disproportionately allocated to internal, rather than external, sensory cues.” 

 

To read more: https://theinspiredtreehouse.com/what-is-interoception/

A Surprising Cause of Attention Problems in Kids

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Claire Heffron, The Inspired Treehouse

We talk a lot about sensory processing needs and how they can impact kids’ ability to attend and function at school and at home.  And there are also many children whose attention problems fall into the category of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.  But there is one other surprising reason that many children are unable to attend to tasks throughout the day: weak core muscles.

 

To read more: https://theinspiredtreehouse.com/a-surprising-cause-of-attention-problems-in-kids/

Encouraging Functional Posture for School

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Lauren Drobnjak, The Inspired Treehouse

Most teachers these days are adept at using a multi-sensory approach to learning.  They use hands-on activities and have children moving and changing positions throughout the school day.  But there are times when kids simply have to sit at their desks and listen.

 

To read more: https://theinspiredtreehouse.com/child-development-encouraging-functional-posture-for-school/

Building Core Muscles: Red Flags for Kids

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Claire Heffron, The Inspired Treehouse

To some people, the concept of working on core muscles with kids may seem a little crazy. Core muscles?  Core strengthening?  For children??  What the heck are they talking about?  Why can’t we just let kids be kids? What we are talking about is giving kids a solid foundation to build on for the development of every other gross motor skill under the sun.  And that foundation just happens to be the core muscles.

 

To read more: https://theinspiredtreehouse.com/how-to-tell-if-your-child-has-weak-core-muscles/