This week, I will talk about “sensory sensitivity” for each of the senses. People that are sensitive to visual input may prefer dim lights or spending short amounts of time using a computer screen. They may prefer lighter, muted
colors or simple, clean designs and pictures. A person that is sensitive to sounds may prefer to have quiet with completing a task (reading, studying, listening to someone speak or give directions). They may prefer silence when trying to sleep. They may be bothered or have trouble focusing in loud places, such as a busy restaurant. A person that is sensitive to touch may avoid or give light hugs. They may prefer to have plenty of “wiggle room” between himself and the next person. They may avoid getting their hands or face messy. They may
be sensitive to certain fabrics or how their clothes fit (tags in shirts or crooked socks). People that are sensitive to smell may notice very faint smells or be easily bothered by smells, such as cleaning supplies. People that are
sensitive to tastes may prefer more bland food items. A person that is sensitive to movement may avoid activities that require a lot of movement. For older children or adults, this may include roller coasters, activities that require
turning in circles. People who suffer from “motion sickness” are sensitive to movement. A child that is sensitive to movement may not prefer to swing or use the slides on the playground. They may not enjoy jumping on trampolines or playing games like “ring around the rosie”. I will reiterate that that these are simply preferences, not dysfunctions. We all interpret sensory input differently; therefore we all have different sensory preferences.
~Sarah Eller, occupational therapist
Daily tips, activities, and suggestions on how to naturally embed speech, language, play, fine motor, gross motor, and cognitive skills into your child's day, often using the materials already found in your home environment.
Marena Mitchell is a speech-language pathologist