Last week we introduced our blog series on sensory integration difficulties, a type of disorder marked by difficulty integrating information experienced through the five senses. Some individuals with sensory processing disorder may be hypersensitive to certain sensations and experience an aversion to overstimulation, becoming upset when faced with certain sounds, smells, tastes, textures or types of pressure. Others may experience this disorder in the opposite manner, presenting as hyposensitive to sensory stimuli and requiring an abundance of stimulation into order to properly focus and take in information from their environment. Today, we’ll discuss the latter in more depth.
A child who is hyposensitive to sensory stimuli will present with an exceptionally high tolerance for stimulation in the environment. These children may appear listless, and often seek sensory experiences that would generally be aversive to a neurotypical child. As a form of treatment, sensory integration therapy is often employed. During this type of therapy, the child is exposed to a variety of different sensations to stimulate the senses. This “sensory diet” is designed to provide the child with the sensory input that they require to remain in an organized, focused state. A variety of sensations may be used, such as stroking the skin with a brush, bright colors and lights, or specially designed devices which provide pressure or vibrations.
As children with sensory integration difficulties often experience speech and language delays, they often receive speech-language therapy in addition to occupational therapy. In order to best assist a hyposensitive child in improving language use, a speech therapist will often employ sensory integration techniques in their therapy. In addition, they will often provide the child with strategies that they can employ during their everyday routine to get the sensory input they require without inhibiting communication or social functioning.
Stay tuned: next week we’ll discuss the other end of the spectrum—children who suffer from hypersensitivity to sensory stimuli.
Do you have concerns about your child’s speech or language development? If you feel you may benefit from the services of a speech-language pathologist, give us a call! At Speech Associates of New York, our team of professionally trained and certified speech-language pathologists provide in-home evaluations and therapy. Each of our professionals is trained in the assessment and treatment of a range of pediatric and adult speech, language and communication disorders. Call us today at (212)308-7725 and find out how we can help you communicate your best!