Sensory Issues in Kids & Teens
Sensory Processing Disorder in Kids and Teens
As children get older, unaddressed sensory issues may lessen somewhat, but there are certainly teenagers and adults with sensory processing disorder (note that you'll find tips for adults and teens, as well as an entire chapter on parenting a teenager with sensory processing disorder, in Raising a Sensory Smart Child). If you get help for her sensory issues early, and set up and implement a sensory diet for her, you ensure that your child has the best chance of overcoming the sensory processing issues that make her wonder, “What’s wrong with me? Why am I so … different?”
An occupational therapist who is trained and experienced in working with children who have SPD or sensory issues can be of great help. At the same time, kids need to be empowered by developing sensory smarts. They need to know what they can do to make themselves more comfortable in their bodies and the environment and how to ask for what they need. They have to own being “different” and learn to respect themselves as they meet their needs in socially appropriate ways.
Teenagers with sensory processing disorder who have had little or no sensory integration therapy and have not had a sensory diet often feel “odd” and “different,” even “weird,” and may suffer from low self-esteem. Add in hormones and the age-appropriate desire to be independent, and it can be hard to convince them to work with an occupational therapist to feel better in their bodies and their environments. Tell them that you want to help them learn some tricks for feeling better and functioning better, and let them decide what activities they will and won’t tolerate. Help them to understand that they didn’t choose their brain’s “wiring” but they can work with it. A sense of humor can be helpful, as some of the activities, like sitting on an inflatable bumpy cushion to make it easier to stay in their seat and feel it underneath them, can seem “goofy” or “childish.” Your teen with sensory issues may resist being seen as “different,” and yet may crave accommodations and activities that make him feel better. Be encouraging and patient and let him take the lead. Learn how you can find an OT here.
Check out Quick Tips for Kids & Teens.
BUY Raising a Sensory Smart Child and learn more about helping your child who has sensory processing issues.
Click Below for more information on sensory specific age groups