In addition to executive function and cognitive issues, children and adults with UCD can experience sensory integration disorders caused by the effects of UCD on the brain.
Learn more about sensory processing issues, how to identify them, how they can affect learning and behavior, and common sense strategies that can help.
A Child's View of Sensory Processing - learn what sensory processing problems feel like through a child's eyes.
What is Sensory Processing Disorder?
Sensory processing disorder refers to a child, or anyone’s ability to take in the senses around them. The sounds that you hear, the things that you see, the chair that you’re sitting in, you’re feeling it, and be able to process those things, and be able to create an effective motor output.
So, for example, for me to be able to sit here, I have to block everything out around me. The little quiet hushing of the AC that’s going on behind me, and the lights that are flashing in my eyes and things that I’m seeing, and this hard chair, in order to sit here and tell you what I’m thinking and what I’m telling you.
Now this might seem simple, but it’s really not for all children. Some children have a very difficult time doing it. For example, some kids may have a really hard time taking in the background noise. It might be too much for them. You might find that any kind of noise might be too much for them and they may cover their ears. And that might limit their ability to sit in a classroom and attend to the teacher, because that background noise is just too much for them. They may not be able to feel the input in their joints and sit at the chair. That might be too much for them too. The thing to remember is that we all have little sensory issues here and there. Like I don’t like certain crunchy things because I don’t like the way it feels.
Everyone has these little tiny things that they don’t like. They may not like the label in there, in the back here. It might itch them. Everyone has little things. But when it becomes an issue that impacts a child’s day to day living, that’s a problem.
So if they’re unable to sit and attend in the classroom, because they’re unable to block out certain noises, or they’re unable to get that input into their joints, they can’t sit still in their chair because it doesn’t feel good to them, that’s a cause for concern.
Children with sensory processing disorder are either hypersensitive or hyposensitive to input. So some movement may be too much for them, or it might be too little for them. So some children may not want to sit in a swing because they don’t want to feel any of that movement. Other kids might want to be in a swing all day long, and that’s why you might see some kids running in circles, or running back and forth. They’re constantly seeking that movement. That is another part of sensory processing disorder.
If you feel that your child is having any of these issues, discuss this with your pediatrician, as it may be a sign of a sensory processing disorder.
Recognizing Sensory Processing Disorder in Children
Dear Teacher: Heartfelt Advice to Teachers from Students
Kids with a formal diagnosis, such as autism, Asperger's, ADHD, learning disabilities, Sensory Processing Disorder, and Central Auditory Processing Disorder -- as well as those who just need to move while learning -- often find it challenging to shine in a traditional classroom. The kids who collaborated to write and star in this "Dear Teacher" video represent such students. They wanted to share with educators how their brain works and offer simple ways teachers can help.