How to Engineer Better Environments for a Child with Sensory Processing Disorder and ADHD

All youngsters thrive in environments engineered for their explicit wishes. This idea applies particularly to children with consideration deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and much more so when it is accompanied via sensory processing disorder (SPD), a neurological condition characterized by challenges with stimuli and the senses.

A child with SPD has bother interpreting and managing sensations delivered by means of the surroundings and his or her personal body. Different kids revel in SPD in numerous tactics — some could also be simply beaten by way of sensations while others are under-responsive to them; some might experience sensory discrimination and perception problems whilst others have sensory-motor challenges.

ADHD and SPD influence one every other in no small means. A bothersome tag in a child’s shirt, or the study room lighting fixtures, may contribute considerably to inattention and difficulties with concentration. A food sensitivity or a imaginative and prescient downside may just heighten a child’s impulsivity.

How to Help a Child with Sensory Processing Disorder

Parents of kids with ADHD and SPD should take into accout those “3 Rs:”

RECOGNIZE that a sensory factor might underlie your child’s disorganization, inattention, hyperactivity, or impulsivity. Put on imaginary “sensory goggles” and ask:

  • What sensations does my child steer clear of? Some commonplace ones include unexpected touch or motion, t-shirt tags, lumpy mashed potatoes, sirens, and humming lights
  • What sensations does my child actively search? (Swinging? Jumping? Fidgeting? Chewing gum?)
  • What sensations calm and arrange my child? (Jogging? Hugging? Time within the bath or tight spaces?

[Think Your Child Has Sensory Processing Disorder? Take This Symptoms Test]

RECHANNEL the child’s fidgets. Instead of trying to squelch the child’s energy, to find a way to assist him or her use that vigor in a useful method.

REWARD the child with explicit and positive phrases. Praise effort and patience.

Creating Sensory-Smart Environments for Children

Fixing a child’s physical environment with a focus at the senses can create a international of a distinction for their comfort. Parents can begin with those elementary steps.

Visual Sensitivities

  • Eliminate fluorescent lights
  • Reduce visual distractions by means of eliminating muddle
  • Simplify work areas
  • For homework and different worksheets, build up the sort size
  • Ask a physician to test for visible processing problems. Use the College of Optometrists in Vision Development’s site ( to to find a developmental optometrist to your space

[Click to Read: 3 Types of Sensory Disorders That Look Like ADHD]

Auditory Sensitivities

  • Ask a physician to take a look at for hyperacusis ⁠— greater sensitivity to sound frequencies and ranges
  • Try earmuffs and/or noise cancelling headphones in short ⁠— we don’t need the child’s mind to recalibrate in order that standard noises become even more unbearable
    Drown out distracting external noises with sounds that are acceptable to the child ( is superb for this)
  • Consider talking to an occupational therapist about a healing listening program to help workout the ears and make stronger tolerance

Tactile Sensitivities

  • Focus on tactile desensitization paintings for hypersensitive kids. Give the child hand fidgets (can help heaps with center of attention) and heavy gadgets
  • Buy seamless socks and tagless garments
  • Keep chewing gum available

Easy and Fun Movement and Sensory Break Ideas

The brain-and-body actions indexed below also work to have interaction the child, construct tolerance to drawback sensations and sensitivities in wholesome ways, and toughen physical talents, concentration, and mental construction.

  • Jump rope
  • Set up mini impediment classes at house (jump over containers, hula hoop, crawl)
  • Set up “crash pads” ⁠— cushions at the floor so kids can jump and fall
  • Bounce on a therapy or Hopper ball (#CommissionsEarned)
  • Use a Goliath Zoomball (#CommissionsEarned) a ball that travels again and forth on two handles when the participant separates their palms
  • Hopscotch
  • Stretches: arm circles, back stretches
  • Resistive/deep-pressure actions: Running to the wall and pressing up or in opposition to it or “holding it up” or the use of stretchy resistance bands to wrap around the physique and make shapes

Children can also paintings on sensory demanding situations by doing chores and different actions around the home. It’s an easy method to integrate sensory activities into day-to-day lifestyles while helping them build crucial existence skills. Some examples include:

  • Cooking: Have the child wear disposable gloves to roll dough or mold cookies. That manner, if tactile issues make it uncomfortable for them to contact things, they are able to get sensory enter without messing with the receptors on their fingers.
  • “Heavy” lifting: Children with SPD tend to have low muscle tone; activities that require fairly heavy lifting are easiest to work in this. Hauling mulch as a part of backyard work is a nice process, as is sporting the groceries or meals delivery inside.

And remember the fact that a child must no longer have to earn sensory breaks. The day that they need them the most is the day they are least most probably to “earn” them.

[Read This Next: The Sensory Strategies That Help My Child with Sensory Processing Disorder]

The information on this article was once sourced partly from “Sensory-Smart Strategies for Children with Sensory Processing Disorder and ADHD” ADDitude webinar with Carol Stock Kranowitz and Lindsey Biel, which aired on May 7, 2020.

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