Sensory Processing Disorder, or SPD, is a neurological condition that affects the way a child perceives and reacts to external stimuli. This can often manifest itself in an overreaction to loud sounds or bright lights, a picky diet or aversion to getting dressed, or, most importantly, a tendency to play on their own and difficulty socializing with other children.
Social issues as a result of SPD are wide-ranging, including:
- Following instructions in structured environments
- Refusal to break from rigid routines
- Self-esteem and confidence issues related to other childrens’ improved social skill level
- Self-regulation and behavioral issues
- Conversing appropriately with others
- Understanding social situations and being perceived as “rude” by others
How To Improve Social Skills At Home For Children With SPD
SPD causes a domino effect in children that leads to stress and anxiety, which can lead to behavioral problems and reclusivity in social settings. It’s important to address that stress and anxiety before trying to force children into social situations, because being able to respond appropriately in those settings requires a higher level of thinking that may not be possible when under a significant amount of stress.
This can be done by making sure their sensory triggers are reduced or eliminated, and making sure they are getting regular exercise through play, a healthy diet, and a strict sleep schedule. Once a child is comfortable, it becomes easier to work on their social skills.
Teaching your child about different types of personalities and subtle forms of communication using things like books and technology is a great way to get them acclimated to different situations they might encounter in social settings. Once you do that, you can move onto role-playing different scenarios with your child, whether it’s another child on the playground, their teacher, or another adult in their life.
How Allcare Therapy Services Can Help Children With SPD
Our Occupational Therapists are well-trained in helping children with Sensory Processing Disorder, and we run through a large number of clinically proven methods depending on their needs to improve how they react to their triggers.
- Recognize Triggers: The most important component of treating SPD is understanding what stimuli trigger your child so you can aim to reduce them, An occupational therapist is skilled in recognizing those triggers.
- School Transition: An OT can provide the additional support a child with SPD needs to transition into a school environment and act as a liaison with their teachers if needed.
- Behavior Management: Not only correcting behaviors while at therapy, but teaching parents how to effectively correct behaviors at home is a huge benefit of having a licensed OT assess and treat your child.
- Zones of Regulation or Alert Program: A method developed by occupational therapists to assist children in learning and improving self-regulation skills.
Get in touch with Allcare Therapy Services today to have a licensed OT perform an evaluation of your child and develop a custom treatment plan!