Not all “temper tantrums” are what they seem. Sometimes they are something more. Something NO amount of “discipline” will curb. Yelling or spanking children with this disorder makes it MUCH WORSE.
As a mother with 3/4 of my kids AND myself who suffer from Sensory Integration, it is VERY real for us.
Sensory Issues are VERY common throughout many different Dxs, from ADHD, Autism, Anxiety, PTSD, Non-Verbal Learning Disorder, FMS, and many, many more. It affects people of all ages, but easier to spot in children, because as we age, we come up with our own unique coping skills.
What makes it even more interesting is that it affects each person differently. Rarely will you have 2 children with the same sensory needs.
For example, I have 1 child who needs TIGHT fitted clothing and another who need super loose fitted clothing. I, myself, can’t stand anything tight/fitted on, BUT the idea of going with any clothing on, is just as bad.
Also, I HATE to be touched. It actually hurts. Places like, for example, churches that tell you to get up and hug/shake hands with those around you–well, you might as well shove me into a torture chamber!! I explain it as “super sensitive skin” to most, because things that touch my skin will also generally cause visual reaction as well.
I like things but away & not cluttered about or I get Visual Sensory Overload…(different from OCD or anxiety, but some people have both) but I have a son who has the exact opposite issue- he will dump out his toys and ROLL in them for the sensory input. It “hurts” me just to watch this!! lol (picture rolling in a giant tub of LEGOS!)
Listen to the person. They know themselves and their overload. If they can tell you what they need to calm down, pay attention. Individual people have individual strategies. If their attempt to calm down involves behavior that looks bizarre, such as rocking or flapping hands, don’t interfere. Sometimes well-meaning people, trying to help a person with autism or sensory processing disorder fit in, will accidentally discourage a useful coping mechanism.
- If you see them using a harmful coping mechanism, such as head-banging or biting their arms, alert an authority figure such as a caretaker, therapist, or adult. They may lash out if you try to grab them, and either one of you could get hurt. After the overload, a specialist can help them find a better coping mechanism.
My Thomas is still in the process of learning SAFE means of coping. There is nothing worse than watching your child harm him self, by biting/sucking on his skin so hard he is leaving WELTS on his arms. Or when they are much bigger and stronger than you are and they lash out, leaving you so many scratches and bruises that it look like you were attacked by the world’s biggest alley cat. And it is so FRUSTRATING when adults try to put him down for having OR actually try taking away his BLANKET. Yes, he is nearly 11, but he NEEDS that thing to stop overload! Yes he sucks on his fingers, BUT it’s either the fingers OR his arms being covered with so many welts that they PURPLE. (His dentist even understands this.) As he ages, he now knows if it’s a “good day” or “bad day.” Some days he can make it nearly all day with out either.
My Christopher’s coping is much more formed. Unless you KNOW what stimming looks like, people don’t really notice. He is a “drummer” and he does this odd thing with his hands that’s a blend between flapping and snapping– I can’t mimic it no matter how hard I try. 😉 No one notices his Under Armor type clothing under his regular clothing. Not like it was when he was younger and in a “bear hug vest.” And weather permitting, you will find him up in the top of a tree, nice and secluded, with a book. (The kid can literally climb ANYTHING!! It’s actually pretty amazing lol.)
Does anyone in your household have Sensory Issues? What types of coping measures have you discovered?
MORE INFO: Reduce-Sensory-Overload
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