I have run into multiple circumstances (with multiple families) in the past where caregivers are insisting that their child has a sensory disorder. The child is evaluated and the sensory function is determined to be typical of other children. The problem lies in the fact that the caregiver continues to insist that the child has a sensory problem where there isn’t one.
There are many children who have sensory problems that are affecting their life, but there is also a lot of normal kid behavior that parents have to deal with, without using sensory as an excuse. Every person on earth has their own sensory likes and dislikes, and they are all normal. Some people enjoy roller coasters, others don’t. Some people like loud concerts while others prefer quiet. The brain load happening at any given time can also have an effect on people’s tolerance of extra stimulation, and the level of hunger and fatigue can affect your personal sensory tolerance.
Photo by Guy Shapira / Dollar Photo Club
So in many cases, kids just need to learn how to deal with and adapt to new situations, and experiences. They don’t need therapy to help them, they just need experiences. Another thing to consider; Is the child having a problem, or is the parent having a problem. Are these parents quick to try to throw a label on their child because they (the parent) are frustrated and can’t handle some of the difficulties of parenting?
Now, all kids are different, and there are some kids that definitely cross the line and they have a barrier to function. I am not writing about those kids because I think there are already plenty of things written about them. I have two kids, and one was easy going and mellow when young, and the other was much more challenging. I had to modify my parenting style for the new kid who was a bit more sensitive and volatile. The key is in recognizing differences, making changes as needed, pushing to an extent, and modifying behavior one behavior at a time.
In OT we work with the kids that have extreme difficulties, but most kids just have mild differences that can be recognized for what they are, and then just worked through in every day life and daily activities.
What do you think? Are too many kids getting labeled as sensory?