Friday, November 7, 2014

Is It Sensory Or Tantrum?

Your child is throwing a fit. Your not sure what they want? and so the fit keeps going until either you find the want or need your child is trying to request from you or they become exhausted. If you are an Autism mom such as my self this can be one of the most difficult questions you ask your self while trying to figure out what is going on with your child. Is it sensory related or just a tantrum? It is totally difficult to answer this question but I have some tips to help you try to know the difference between the two.

Sensory Processing Disorder

According to WebMD, "Sensory processing disorder is a condition in which the brain  has trouble receiving and responding to information that comes in through the senses."
It can be just one of the senses or it can be all of them, there is no limit to which senses it can affect. Basically your child can be sensitive to what others maybe think is the normal. For example my son goes nuts when you turn on a ceiling fan. While an atypical person wouldn't even notice if it was on or off half of the time, my son will notice it right away and go into full melt down until the fan is shut off. That is Sensory related.


Also according to WebMD, " A Temper Tantrum is a sudden, unplanned display of anger or other emotions"
Children offend have these when things either don't go their way or they are demanding something and not getting there way. My son has these sometimes during his ABA therapy session when he doesn't want to do the work, and is trying to flee from the situation.

Now for the big question, How do you tell the difference between the two?

They look so simulator if you don't know what your looking for it can be tough, because in fact one requires that ignore and discipline and the other requires you to give in and help your child.

Things you should ask yourself before calling it a Sensory Processing meltdown
  • Did you recently change anything in your environment that could have bother any of their senses? I know this seems pretty broad of a question to ask, but finding out if anything triggered the melt down can save you a lot of time next time this sort of thing happens.
  • Did you notice anything happening before the the meltdown began? Some examples can list but only having experience with my son there are tons more then I know of. Was your child pulling at there clothes? it can be something as simple as the fabric of there T-shirt or even the tag inside the T-shirt. Turning their head to the side looking at something brighten or dimly light? My son doesn't like the casting of shadows at night, but enjoys beams of light from the sun during the day. Patting their ears? Something your not noticing could be the issue, a hum, the dishwasher anything really you have to look for changes in the environment quickly to avoid a sensory meltdown.
  • Is your child hungry or tired? These are the most common causes for Tantrums. If your child is tired or hungry with no other means to tell you, they will surely act out with a tantrum.
  • Does your child self harm? Children having a sensory processing melt down will not care if they are hurting themselves. While children having tantrums tend to hurt others more then themselves, children having a sensory processing melt down will act like you don't even exist. There only focus will be fight or flight mode and they will do anything including self harm to get out of the situation.
Even with asking yourself all these questions going into the situation it is most important to stay calm. You never want to punish a child if they are having a Sensory meltdown. It is something they can not control. It would like if you saw car coming at you on the street and you know you need to react with fight or flight to save your life. Kids with Sensory processing disorder get these feelings even with the simplest things. You just have to take the time to try and figure out what those things are and try your best to avoid them. It is also a good idea to consult with your child's doctor on whether or not they would need Occupational Therapy to help learn the appropriate ways to handle sensory issues and help desensitize them. Let it also be known that not only do children with Autism suffer from SPD, While is it common in these children, is it not limited to them or even children, adults can suffer from this disorder as well. 

Now if you determined you child is just having a tantrum, you might want to come up with some sort of discipline to show the child that acting out in this way to get the things they want isn't appropriate. Usually time outs work well. Taking your child out of the situation for a period of cool down time is necessary. Be firm and constant. Even children with Autism need to be taught appropriateness.

Well I hope you all found this helpful, Leave me a comment if you did or have any questions I might be able to help.:)  

Thanks for stopping by

My sources include: WebMD and also one on one discussions with my sons ASD and OT workers as well as my own life experiences.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Leave me a comment, I love them :)