Under the Umbrella: Caring for Children & Youth with Sensory Issues

For some children, it might be sound. For others, it might be touch or sight. Regardless of the particulars, children with sensory processing issues can’t rely on their senses to give them an accurate picture of what’s happening around them. As a result, they may struggle with socially appropriate behavior.

Sensory experiences include:

  • Visual or vision input: The car driving by the window or the words a child is trying to read.
  • Auditory or sound input: The birds chirping outside or the TV being on in the other room.
  • Tactile or touch input: Feeling the paper you’re holding, the seat you are sitting on, and the clothes you’re wearing.
  • Olfactory (smell) input : The dinner being cooked or the rain outside.
  • Taste input: The coffee you are drinking.
  • Movement input: Two parts – the sense of our position in space (proprioception), and the feeling of gravity (vestibular input). As you’re reading, this input would be the feeling of leaning on your arms or tapping your foot.

No matter how they manifest — screaming if their faces get wet, an unusually high or low tolerance for pain, doing absolutely everything, including having a tantrum, in order to avoid getting dressed, for example — sensory issues can make the world a difficult place for children to live in. Understanding hidden sensory challenges and brain development, in the context of adverse childhood experiences, will help caregivers reframe a child’s behaviors.

For those who are interested in learning more about caring for children and youth who may have sensory processing issues, we are hosting a training this Wednesday, May 13: Supporting Children & Youth with Sensory Processing Issues. We invite you to join us. We also invite you to reach out any time you feel you need a little extra support, information, or resources to support yourself, your children, and your family. The Coalition is here to help you all every step of the way. Email us or give us a call at 414-475-1246 or 800-762-8063.

Featured Tip Sheet: Understanding Sensory Processing Disorder


Under the Umbrella is the weekly enewsletter from the Coalition for Children, Youth & Families. If you would like to sign up to receive this newsletter in your in-box, please do so here.

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