Teenagers and Sensory Processing Disorder: The Special Challenges
Teenagers with sensory processing dysfunction have particular challenges due to the stage of growth they’re in and the truth that till now, their sensory points might have gone unaddressed.
1. Discovering the fitting OT could be tough. Few occupational therapists are skilled or skilled in working with youngsters who’ve sensory processing dysfunction. Play-based SI remedy could appear foolish and embarrassing to teenagers.
2. Poor shallowness. Youngsters who’ve had sensory points for years could have realized no less than some lodging to get round them and are much less prone to expertise the acute behaviors and responses they did after they have been youthful. Nevertheless, years of feeling totally different and never understanding why, and noticing that they’ve by no means been fairly as mature and self-controlled as their friends, take their toll. Teenagers with sensory processing points normally battle with shallowness. They want plenty of encouragement to confess they’ve sensory points and want some assist.
3. Want for independence. Youngsters have to have their independence revered, so being informed, “You might want to do X, Y, and Z to handle your sensory points” normally would not go over very nicely!
4. Want to slot in. Even youngsters who do not feel the necessity to have plenty of pals or be conformist wish to have some pals they really feel they slot in with. Sensory challenges can embarrass them and should make them really feel remoted, and totally different in a destructive method.
5. Altering hormones. Youngsters have ever-changing hormones that may exacerbate sensory points by making them extra delicate to enter than they have been up to now. The conventional adjustments of adolescence may make them extra moody and emotionally delicate.
6. New expectations. Individuals are much less prone to see your teen as a younger, immature individual with a hidden incapacity and extra prone to see her or him as a younger grownup whose conduct is willful.
What’s a mother or father, trainer, or therapist to do?
1. Modify conventional SI remedy methods to be extra teen pleasant. As an alternative choice to taking part in with a tray of shaving cream or finger-paints, encourage the teenager to cook dinner, backyard, do artwork or arts and crafts, and have interaction in different actions that problem his tactile points. Work with a sensory-smart occupational therapist who’s prepared to change her method to serving to your teenage son or daughter to scale back any embarrassment or defensiveness.
2. Speak about sensory points positively. Reassure your teenager that sensory points are merely a distinction in mind wiring that may have benefits however that may also be managed and addressed to make life a little bit simpler. Clarify what SPD is and why in some instances, it is good to be additional delicate or to crave sure sensations, and that individuals with sensory points usually produce other presents as nicely, resembling the power to “assume in footage.” Then clarify that there are “methods” you and/or an OT can educate them to “make their lives simpler.” Everybody needs his life to be a little bit simpler! Acknowledge how laborious your teen has to work to be organized or tolerate sure sensations and reward her for her efforts.
3. Supply lodging and sensory weight loss plan concepts for her or him to select from. Current lodging and actions to youngsters and allow them to resolve which they want to use. Honor and respect their selections and encourage them to have interaction in collaborative drawback fixing with you. If they do not wish to be seen doing a brushing protocol for tactile points, can they do it discreetly within the rest room at college? If all the children are carrying unfastened garments they usually desire them tight, can the teenager put on tight clothes, resembling bicycle shorts, beneath looser garments that appear extra fashionable?
4.Assist your teen with sensory points to really feel okay as he’s and discover a group of friends he is comfy with. Sensible options for grooming, choosy consuming, and dressing, and inspiring talks in regards to the upside of being totally different, will help your teen with sensory points really feel extra comfy amongst his friends. Nevertheless, he can also really feel higher about himself if he expands his group of pals. Encourage your teen to develop hobbies and have interaction in new actions from individualized sports activities that do not require excessive ranges of ability and competitiveness to get pleasure from them to teams that interact within the arts, group service, religious development, and so forth. Extracurricular actions will help youngsters discover their “tribe” and really feel the ability to make a distinction on the earth as nicely.
5. Settle for that your youngster could also be extra emotionally delicate at this stage. Be alert to indicators of elevated nervousness and despair and seek the advice of a medical well being skilled with any considerations you’ve gotten. Keep in mind, addressing sensory points will scale back general nervousness that may result in gentle or average despair (while you really feel you possibly can’t handle your discomfort, over time, you possibly can develop despair). Remember a few of the handiest therapies for gentle or average nervousness and despair embody bodily train, time spent outside, meditation, and respiration workouts. Mindfulness practices from yoga and tai chi to tai kwan do and karate will help, too.
6. Concentrate on self-awareness and accountability for self-regulating. It’s totally tough to get others to just accept poor self-regulation in a teen, even when you educate them on hidden disabilities. Subsequently, the earlier you collaborate along with your teen in making a workable sensory weight loss plan that stops destructive behaviors, the higher. Will probably be simpler on your teen to develop higher self-regulation if she is skilled in utilizing particular self-calming and self-alerting methods that she is aware of work for her. Maintain her accountable for utilizing her alerting music and gum, taking trip to take a seat in a quiet area and do respiration workouts or use a brushing protocol, and so forth. Have her take part in making a sensory weight loss plan tailor-made to her must hold her sensory wants met and to forestall fight-or-flight behaviors. Let her expertise the pure penalties if she refuses to make use of her calming, focusing, alerting methods.
Above all, always remember that children with sensory points want a “good” problem, a stability of lodging to make them extra comfy and challenges that take them out of their consolation zone. Sensory weight loss plan actions for youngsters assist them to develop a better tolerance for conditions and actions they’re going to encounter in life, and over time, retrain their brains to course of sensory info extra sometimes. Be inventive and inspiring in establishing a sensory weight loss plan for a youngster, and all the time be collaborative to respect the teenager’s want for independence.
Lastly, when you’re a mother or father annoyed by making an attempt to get your teenager’s sensory points below management, think about becoming a member of an in-person or on-line assist group or creating one. Figuring out that you simply aren’t alone, and having sensible and emotional assist from different dad and mom going by means of the identical experiences with their teen, will help you enormously at this stage of your kid’s growth.