Are you wondering if your child is a sensory seeker? Children who have sensory processing difficulties may move around a lot, which can get them into trouble. But the reason they never seem to slow down is because their bodies are telling them they need to move, move, move!
Sensory seeking behaviors typically include poor balance, coordination, and awareness of their body in space. Kids with sensory challenges also have decreased awareness of vestibular and/or proprioceptive input.
To compensate for this, sensory seeking children will often seek out lots of sensory input to give their bodies more feedback to these systems.
They’ll do this by jumping, spinning, swinging, crashing, squishing and other movements. Other sensory seeking behaviors include trying to touch everything in their environment or running into/bumping into objects or people in their environment.
Our bodies are constantly receiving sensory input, processing it, and adjusting our responses, without us even realizing it is happening! In addition to the five senses (sight, smell, hearing, taste, and touch), we also have two other senses.
The vestibular sense is the ability to sense movement and balance. Sensors in the ear send feedback to the brain to tell us the direction and speed of movement at any point in time. The vestibular system works with the visual system to keep us upright and balanced when standing or moving.
Proprioception is the ability to know where our body is in space. Feedback from the muscles and joints helps us keep a good sense of position even when we’re not looking. If you were to close your eyes and have someone move your arm, you would know exactly what position it was in, even without looking. That’s your proprioceptive system at work!
In this video below, NAPA occupational therapist Erin shares some sensory seeking activities to help organize our sensory seekers throughout the day.
At NAPA Center, we take an individualized approach to pediatric therapy because we understand that each child is unique with very specific needs. We embrace differences with an understanding that individualized programs work better. For this reason, no two therapeutic programs are alike. If your child needs services, we will work closely with you to select the best therapies for them, creating a customized program specific to your child’s needs and your family’s goals. Let your child’s journey begin today by contacting us to learn more.