How many of you can still associate specific smells and sounds years after leaving school? The classroom layout, visual materials, toileting facilities, echoing corridors, ringing bells and peer interactions are amongst the many sensory rich experiences present in our Maltese schools.
This is part of the normal school environment and routine for the majority of students, however, for children who have atypical reactions to the sensations, this is a extremely challenging. Students with sensory processing disorder might experience a ‘block or a traffic jam’ of all these incoming sensations. They will get distracted by them and have trouble keeping up with their day leading to external behavioural responses. Some children might, have tantrums, run out of the classroom, push a peer, cover their ears, hide under the classroom table, while others; lose interest in the teacher’s explanation, lean on table, fidget with their pencil and chatter the day away.
It is common that children with sensory issues will struggle with:
- sitting still
- retaining information
- staying organized
- copying from the whiteboard
- following explanations
- sustaining adequate focus and attention
- write neatly
- reading issues
- remember tasks and assignments
- sustaining peer relationships – being rough with peers or being too controlling
Ultimately the biggest hurdle is learning and keeping up with the classroom demands. If you observe that your child is struggling with any of the above you might need to seek for an assessment by an Occupational therapist specialised in Sensory Integration. This will help to determine the child’s development in terms of sensory processing and integration.
At WonderKids we have occupational therapists specialising in sensory integration who can help you out in case your child is experiencing such difficulties.