Sensory problems of children and sensory processing disorder

Our sensory system comprises seven basic senses. That is vision, touch, taste, hearing, smell, balance, joint positioning [proprioception]. We all are processing these senses through our nervous system. That is mainly the central nervous system including the brain and the spinal cord. When the brain does not process these senses properly, it may cause the sensory problems of children.

Our brain acquires all senses and processes. Then respond to particular senses and give feedback to them. It means we can identify certain tastes, smells, sounds, colors, and other associated senses. We can identify those senses because we have prior experience about those and our brain will help to memorize those previous sensory experiences and get to feeling about them and finally respond to them.

Our mouth gets watering if we see or smell an interesting food or smell of food. We respond happily when we hear the sound of our family member or friend. Those activities are governed by the sensory system of our body.

But sometimes there may be some problems with this sensory processing phenomenon. These are more frequent among kids. So our toddlers, pre-schoolers, schools, and teenagers are responding to these sensory stimulations in a different manner. Sometimes we can see those among adults.

As parents or caregivers, we have to pay huge attention and effort in dealing with sensory processing as they can not express their needs and discomforts verbally or gesturally.

Home environments, school environments, or outer environments are full of senses. kids can not differentiate all sensory stimuli and respond to them respectively. This article gives you a total and concise understanding and you can comment on important ideas.

Sensory problems- types

Sensory problems are basically two types. This is very common in sensory processing disorders in both adults and kids

  1. Over sensitivity[Above to average sensory evel]
  2. under sensitivity[Below to average sensory level].

Imagine all senses resemble a cup and water in it is the sensory input. So under sensitivity kids are like big mugs and need a lot of water to fill, which means they need many sensory impulses to achieve a saturated level.

Oversensitivity kids are like a small cup and need little water drops to fill. Same as they need a very small amount of sensory impulses to achieve a saturated level

Problems of vision and hearing

Visual under sensitivity behaviors of kids

  • watching towards moving objects every time
  • Delayed reaction times
  • Mostly showing sensory seeking behaviors

Visual over sensitivity behaviors of kids

  • When they see a picture they concern with small details of it (such as a particular place or dot or coloured area). THEY DO NOT SEE THE WHOLE PICTURE
  • Easily distracted
  • Difficulty in locating objects.
  • Can not sleep if to room is not completely dark.
  • Things have to set up in a specific way.

Hearing under sensitivity behaviors of kids

  • Does not respond to name
  • Respect to the same phrase
  • Delayed reaction time
  • Performs better with background noise.

Hearing over sensitivity behaviors of kids

  • Sensitive to noises and voices
  • Difficult to focus on the speaker
  • Easily startled by sounds
  • Makes noise while working
  • Overwhelmed in crowds

As parents and family members, you can observe your child at home and school and inform me of the sensory issues in the comments section as I can clarify your problem precisely for you.

Problems of taste and smell

Taste under sensitive behaviors of kids

  • Prefers strong scants
  • Eats everything

Taste oversensitive behaviors of kids

  • prefers blend tastes
  • Avoid eating new foods
  • Eats a smaller variety of fruits and vegetables.                    
  • Sometimes chokes
  •  Frequently gags

Smell under sensitive behaviors of kids

  • Impaired Oder detection
  • Unable to determine when food has gone bad
  • Difficulty labeling scants

Smell over sensitive behaviors of kids

  • Higher food refusal due to scants
  • Nauseated or gags from certain foods
  • Decreased willingness to go to public places.

 Problems of touch and balance

Touch under sensitive behaviors of kids

  • Does not seem to feel pain or cold
  • Unaware of being a touch
  • Does not notice foods on the face
  • Can not find things in the bag or desk without looking
  • Prefers heavy tight clothes
  • prefers crunchy foods

Touch oversensitive behaviors of kids                        

  • Dislike textured foods
  • Bothered by clothing
  • Dislike light touch on face or back
  • ticklish
  • Hates being dirty

Balance under sensitive behavior of kids

  • Sways or rocks while sitting
  • Seeks fast rides
  • Does not seem to get dizzy
  • Puts head upside down

Balance oversensitive behaviors of kids.   

  • Frequently falls
  • Difficulty riding a bike
  • Sensitive to movement
  • Dislike riding on elevators
  • Struggles to go on uneven surfaces.

 Position issues of kids (proprioception)

Position under sensitive behaviors of kids

  • This problem is unable to stay in a raw. They have issues of posture, walking, flexibility, and speed
  • Seeking out crashing/squishing
  • Messy eater
  • Knocks items even reaching to them
  • Difficult to going up and downstairs.
  • Bump into things frequently.
  • Position Over sensitive behaviors of kids
  • Avoid sports or physical activities
  • Prefers to be physically supported
  • keeps arms close to the body.

 The ultimate solution for most of these problems

Sensory integration therapy or sensory enrichment therapy is the main treatment. It is very much effective for this. But close identification of sensory problems and proper assessment by a pediatrician o therapist is a must.

There may be associated with medical diagnoses such as autism spectrum disorder, Attention deficit hyperactive disorder, and such conditions should be closely considered when treating these types of issues in kids.

proper assessments should be applied to evaluate the existing level and after serial therapy programs, it should be reassessed to understand whether the treatment approaches are applicable or not.


Parents, family members, or caregivers should observe their loving kids and identify their behavioral patterns and get a simple but important idea of whether your child is having sensory issues. If you identified that kind of issue you should get an estimation of whether your kid is having over sensitivity or under sensitivity. It may be a basic sign of sensory processing disorder.

This simple and brief understanding will help you to direct your child to a professional body to address this as a medical issue.He/she may be a pediatrician and an occupational therapist most of to time.

So get a clean, precise, and total understanding of your kids and direct them to an appropriate intervention. That will be to shinning future of your loved ones and they need your support.

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