Sensory Integration Difficulties: A Little Known Reason For Severe Baby Irritations
Sensory Integration Difficulties: a little known reason for severe baby irritations
Sensory integration difficulties are, at the very best of times, very rarely considered as one of the reasons why some babies seem endlessly irritated... and can hardly ever be happy and satisfied.
Probably the one thing every parent want is a calm, happy, loving baby.
In fact, no parent wants the never-ending crying and little sleep associated with a troubled child. For most of us that is simply too much… both physically and emotionally.
Fortunately you can easily solve most baby trouble spots regardless of whether you have a happy or troubled baby. In many cases the cause of any baby irritation is sleep, eat or physical discomfort related.
But what happens if you have already taken care of all obvious irritations and taken your child to the doctor and still have an unhappy, constantly crying baby? What are you missing?
One of the very little known reasons for an unhappy baby is the presence of sensory integration problems.
Not only is this occurrence difficult to detect in babies, but it is also tricky to treat without specialized help.
What Exactly Are We Talking About?
Let's first start with a simplified definition to agree on what exactly we're talking about.
All babies learn by getting various inputs through their senses and then converting those inputs into some learning experience. These inputs can be things like touching different textures, sounds they hear, movements they make, things they smell and even food they taste.
Most babies correctly translate these inputs into a positive learning experience.
Babies with sensory integration problems get these same inputs, but end up being irritated by them. And definitely not learning anything from the experience. They do not get the same response or learning experience from the same stimulus as normal babies do.
In the long run, if this manner goes untreated, these children often end up with learning, social and other behaviour problems.
At best it is difficult to spot sensory integration problems before about 7 months, but there are a few common things you can look for to help identify such problems.
My short, rule of thumb indication is that such a child is just an unhappy, always irritated child.
Although the signs that you should look for may also be present in babies without problems, these kids often show strange and unexpected behavior.
Typical Signs of Sensory Integration Difficulties
Typical signs to look for are:
Disturbed sleeping patterns
They refuse to use different dummies/pacifiers and have very specific preferences of what exactly they like
Sensitive to different food textures
Sometimes also irritated by sounds
Very difficult to sooth with normal methods like picking up, holding, rocking, etc.
Have very definite toy preferences - do not like toys with buttons, hairy ones, different textures, etc.
Often irritated by movements like rocking and rough-and-tumble play - in fact, they are irritated by touch
Ok, what other ways are there to identify such a child?
Another way of exposing sensory integration difficulties
One strategy I've used with good results is to ask parents of such a child a few simple questions.
I found that if any parent thinks back about her child's past behavior, s/he often unknowingly noticed many of the obvious 'signals'. And strangely enough, many parents confirm that always 'knew' that something was wrong.
So, if you suspect that your child may be troubled by sensory integration problems, my only advice is to get professional help from an Occupational Therapist soon.
Bottom line is this... despite this apparent big problem many parents face, an Occupational Therapist will suggest some handling adjustments to treat the situation or teach your child to cope, thereby restoring peace, calmness and normal day to day activities.