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While all children can be particular about their likes and dislikes, children with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) will be so severely affected by their sensory preferences that it interferes with their normal, everyday functioning. It’s estimated that sensory processing disorder affects 5 to 16 percent of school-aged children. In fact, according to SPD Australia, it affects the functional skills of 1 in 20 children.
If we look at SPD in very basic terms, some children may find it difficult to process sensory information, this could include being over-sensitive to certain sensations, which means that just a small amount of that sensation will stimulate them. It could also include being under-sensitive to certain sensations. This means that it takes a lot of that sensation to stimulate that person. Children can also have a combination of over- and under-sensitivities, over-sensitive to some things, under-sensitive to others.
Once you understand your child’s sensory preferences, you will be able to understand why they engage in certain behaviour or avoid certain activities or situations. You can also use this information to think of ways to help your child manage difficult situations.
*The symptoms of sensory processing disorder overlap with those of other disorders. For example, children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder may display similar behaviours to children seeking sensory stimuli. Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often have sensory processing difficulties too.
There is so much information available online about Sensory Processing Disorder and Autism Spectrum Disorder which can be completely overwhelming when you are at the start of your journey, so we have put together a short list of useful websites to help you:
An Occupational Therapist can provide suggestions regarding adaptations and activities to help with your child’s sensory needs. However, to make sure your child gets the right diagnosis and support, it’s important they’re assessed by a qualified health professional, a GP is a great place to start.
We recently asked Briana from Mrs Henderson & Co, an advocate for autism awareness and mum to two beautiful children, to give our night lights a try to see how they worked for her family and their bedtime routine. You can follow Briana’s family’s journey with autism on her socials: YouTube channel or Instagram.
This is what she had to say:
‘We have recently been trying out some lights from @mynightlight and my gosh it has certainly changed our night-time routine. The kids are so excited to be feeling in control of their own beautiful light, choosing a setting and colour each night. In particular William has really been enjoying the calming colours and watching them as it rotates each colour option. ‘- Briana