Sensory Disorders in Children

It seems as though sensory disorders are becoming much more common these days as more children are being diagnosed with some sort of disorder and seeking out treatment to correct certain issues. There exist many types of sensory disorders dealing with all five senses specifically (sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell).Sensory Discrimination Disorder (or SDD) is a more general term that describes a child’s inability or difficulty interpreting incoming sensory information. Sensory information is what our brain processes on a daily basis, letting us know that we are smelling roses vs bacon (for example) and interpreting what we see (family vs strangers, hot vs cold, loud vs soft noises, etc).

So, what does that mean? Children that have this disorder (to varying extents) will have difficulty or be unable to tell you what is in their hand without looking. For example, they may not be able to tell you if they are holding a penny or a dime when their eyes are closed. They might also not be able to tell you what is touching them and where if specific points are poked on their body. They might find it difficult to differentiate between food textures (chewy vs crunchy, for example). They might not be able to distinguish between smells, or identifying what it is they are smelling. They might have difficulty identifying or differentiating between sounds (neck vs nag) and might have an accompanying speech impediment or troubles pronouncing certain sounds. They might have issues with balance and not be able to tell you where their head is in space, or unable to tell you if they are moving or not (in a vehicle, for example). They might have difficulty knowing how much pressure and force to use when writing and holding a pencil/pen or have troubles knowing the difference between a “b” and a “d”, or “q” and “p”.

Some theories as to what leads to a sensory disorder include factors in the environment growing up or while developing in the womb, exposure to toxins, birth trauma, genetics, and immature nervous system or an overactive nervous system.

What can parents do to help? If you suspect that your child might have a sensory disorder or he/she has some of the symptoms listed above, have them checked by one of the Chiropractors at our office. A chiropractic examination and thorough history will identify any issues your child might be having and misalignment in the spine might be causing a delay in the relay of information from the eyes, ears, taste buds (etc.) to the brain. Adjustments can do wonders to remove any nerve interference and allow the body to function at its optimal level. Parents who have sought care for their children have reported an increase in productivity at school as the child is able to focus much more easily in the classroom. Children are also often less overactive at home and tend to sleep better.