Sensory integration Disorder Symptoms in Children

Have you noticed your child not reacting in any ways to various or specific sensory stimuli? If such manifestation has been overtly observed, you might want to visit his pediatrician to check whether he is having a dysfunction in sensory integration.

Sensory Integration Disorder or Dysfunction has been often mistaken for autism as they share almost the same signs and symptoms.  However, there are still specific differences which separate the two from each other.

Sensory Integration Disorder or Dysfunction (SID) is defined by The Free Dictionary as “a neurological disorder that results from the brain's inability to integrate certain information received from the body's five basic sensory systems.”

A normal sensory integration would present no problem when it comes to senses including touch, sound, sight, smell, taste, and even movement and body awareness.  Usually, this is exerted without any additional effort, starting from birth and continues throughout life.  Some changes may be observed as the age of a person progresses through time.

However, in individuals with sensory integration disorder, exerting an additional effort is quite necessary in order for them to appreciate what the senses have to offer.  

As a guardian or even as a teacher of the child, you need to be aware of any evidences from the child’s actions which more likely is different from the other kids.

Dove Rehab Services for Children have cited the following as common signs and symptoms of sensory integration disorder:

  • Withdraws from light and unexpected touch such as social touch, clothing tags
  • Dislike of activities involving unexpected touch such as hair washing, tooth brushing, hair/nail cutting
  • Gagging, refusal to eat certain foods resulting in limited diet
  • Avoidance of messy or textured materials such as lotion, glue, foods with sauce
  • Strong preferences for clothing texture and fit
  • Over sensitive to sounds or sights
  • Difficulties manipulating clothing fasteners
  • Difficulties manipulating small objects
  • Deficits in ability to discriminate among similar sounds, pictures, textures, touch
  • Difficulty adjusting for direction of movement, force. Holds pencil too tight, too loose, pushes too hard, tears paper when erasing, etc
  • Poor balance reactions
  • Poor sense of speed of movement
  • Poor postural control over strength, e.g. poor sitting tolerance
  • Poor dynamic body righting or equilibrium
  • Avoids weight bearing on upper extremities
  • Difficulty isolating head from eye movements or poor ocular control in tracking or visual shifting e.g. when reading, copying from black board
  • Avoids climbing, fear of heights, swaying playground equipment
  • Fatigues quickly
  • Poorly established hand dominance
  • Inefficient, sloppy self care skills
  • Poor use of tools e.g. utensils, pencil, scissors
  • Problems playing sports
  • Resists trying new activities
  • Difficulty transitioning from one task to another
  • Resists change in routines
  • Poor play skills, often prefers to play with younger children
  • Poor articulation
  • Poor awareness of body in space
  • Difficulty playing ball

In cases where one or more of the above mentioned signs and symptoms is noted, it is better to seek some professional feedback in order to verify the condition and at the same be able to provide appropriate intervention for the child.