For many parents, learning that sensory processing issues are the root of some of their child’s behaviors can provide relief. But it can also raise a lot of questions—specifically, “What can I do to help?” Here are some steps to help you get started.
Learn all you can about sensory processing issues.
Observe your child’s sensory triggers.
Look into treatments and strategies for sensory processing issues.
An occupational therapist can design a “sensory diet” routine for your child. This is a type of sensory integration intervention or treatment strategy for kids with sensory processing issues. A sensory diet can help your child get into a “just right state” to make it easier for her to learn and pay attention. It can include a series of physical activities for your child to do. It may also include accommodations like fidget toys.
Discuss supports and services for sensory processing issues with the school.
Even if the school has done its own evaluation, recommendations from outside evaluations can help determine if your child is eligible for an IEP or a 504 plan. With an IEP or a 504 plan, your child would be able to get formal accommodations. If she’s not eligible, learn about informal supports that could help.
You can also request that the school do a sensory profile test. This can help teachers identify how sensory processing issues affect your child during the school day—and how to help. If your child’s school has not been involved in identifying her sensory processing issues, schedule a meeting with the school and provide a copy of the report from the specialist or pediatrician.
Get tips for managing meltdowns.
Understand the possible emotional impact.
Having learning and attention issues can also have an effect on your child’s emotions. In some cases, there’s even a higher risk for mental health issues. Learn about the signs of anxiety and depression. Don’t wait to contact your child’s doctor if you have any concerns.
Discover ways to help with sensory processing issues at home.
Stay in touch with the school.