Does your child have a “behavioral problem”? Referrals from children for behavioral problems are common. The child’s misbehavior is often considered to be the product of lack of discipline at home.
If your child covers his or her ears and screams at certain noises, bites everything, stays in constant motion, gets tantrums, for no apparent reason, can’t stand being washed in the face and gets upset with changes, your child may have a sensory processing disorder (TPS).
Behavior reflected by the child as an effect of TPS can cause a lot of frustration, stress and unease in parents because they receive ongoing complaints from teachers or caregivers. Here’s a detailed detail about what this disorder is and what you can do if you identify it in your child.
What is a sensory processing disorder (TPS)?
It is a difficulty of the brain to process sensory information that is received through the senses, such as smells, sounds, colors or lights, flavors or textures, among other senses additional to the 5 known senses, such as the vestibular and the propioceptive, which they help us to process all the movements of our body, to be aware of it, balance and balance.
TPS disorder is beginning to be considered as a separate diagnosis of attention disorder and autism, because although it is common to be present in both, some children have TPS as the primary diagnosis, not as part of another.
Children with TPS may feel extremes—above normal or below normal. In the first case, in auditory terms, the ears are covered in noisy environments and can react with a kick because they are overwhelmed with auditory information.
In the second case, one with low sensation, they make constant noises with their mouths and with every object, and they often scream frequently.
The same extremes can be observed with the rest of the senses. You can eat everything or have a limited diet (taste), you don’t like to be touched or you’re always touching others or giving hugs (touch), everything smells or falls into a crisis with certain smells (olfactory).
Sensory problems in these children are evident from childhood and, if left untreated, will become acute when they arrive in the classroom.
A typical classroom contains multiple sensory stimuli that can overwhelm a child with TPS, causing a reaction that affects their learning and that of other students. The difficulty of these minors in self-regulating or handling the information they receive from one or more senses can cause impulsivity, excessive movement, among others.
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What causes this diagnosis?
There are some risk factors, such as premature birth, but like any developmental disorder, biological and environmental aspects are considered causal to it.
How to differentiate if they are sensory or behavioral problems?
To make a difference it is imperative to perform an evaluation by both an occupational therapist experienced in sensory integration, and by a psychologist experienced in TPS.
The occupational therapist can determine whether the observed inappropriate behavior is associated with and clinically involved with sensory problems. Similarly, a psychologist with knowledge of TPS can evaluate the traits of inappropriate behavior and refer the child to an occupational therapist if he understands that he or she has indicators of sensory problems. An integrated therapeutic intervention of both professionals is recommended.
Behavioral problems in classrooms are becoming more common, but it is extremely important to determine the causes of classrooms. If we all look at them as typical behavioral problems, we would be punishing children who find it very difficult to eliminate or lessen their inappropriate reactions, as they respond to something they cannot control.