If there’s one thing parents dread when it comes to their kids and schooling, it’s getting a phone call from a teacher. Perhaps you’ve gotten one from your son or daughter’s teacher and rather than detailing some trouble they’ve gotten into, they detail some of the following things:
- Your child has trouble concentrating in class and doesn’t really absorb what the teacher is saying.
- Your child has trouble sitting still and is often disruptive in class.
- Your child has trouble moving from one activity to another without getting upset.
- Your child has meltdowns in group settings (like assemblies) and has to be removed.
If any of the above situations sound familiar to you, it’s possible that your child may have some sensory processing issues: instances where kids struggle to process the information that their senses take in. We all know of the five senses: sight, touch, taste, smell and feel, but kids also deal with issues involving movement and coordination as well as body awareness.
Sensory processing issues aren’t officially diagnosed among learning disorders, but there’s no doubt that they can hamper a child’s ability to learn and succeed in school. For kids who are overly sensitive, they respond easily to sensory stimulation and can be overwhelmed in instances such as:
- Being around bright lights or loud noises
- Being easily distracted by noises only they hear
- Being afraid of or uncomfortable with touching (such as affection)
- Bumping into people or objects accidently
- Being unware of how much force they apply to different activities such as coloring or perhaps pinching something too hard
Conversely, undersensitive kids want more sensory stimulation and may respond to situations in the following ways:
- High pain tolerance
- Being unaware of their own strength
- Having a constant need to touch everything and everyone
- A love of jumping on furniture and other similar items
- Being unable to sit still for very long
So what does all this mean for your child. Simply it means that there are a number of reasons why they may be acting a certain way in school. One of the best ways to check for sensory processing issues is through school sensory screenings. School sensory screenings usually are used for vison screening and hearing screening and those can be very useful. For example, two or three out of every 1,000 kids born in the United States has some degree of detectable hearing loss in at least one ear and hearing tests can help determine a child’s degree of hearing loss.
But trained specialists can also determine student needs through screening tests for other things. School sensory screenings can help determine whether your child does indeed have a learning disability or sensory processing issues. If specialists do find something, they can advise you as a parent on what you can do to help your child. Simply put, if you think there may be a reason your child is acting out in school, school sensory screenings can give the answers you’re looking for.