Category Archives: Sensory processing disorder

Sensory processing disorder identification and aid. In all the different areas.

How Parents Can Give Sensory Support to Older Children

When it comes to older children parents can help them learn to manage their own sensory needs. The most important thing to realise, is that it is the children themselves who know best. They are the ones experiencing things and can tell what works and what doesn’t.

boy wearing glasses in school uniform

Here are some suggestions for parents helping their older children to learn to manage their own sensory needs. Special thanks to some local parents for their help some neurodivergent themselves.

How Parents Can Help Older Children

First parents need to accept that their child is making those choices because they need to, rather than the fact they are trying to get out of something. But, on the other hand not all of them really will be to do with the sensory needs, but that they are becoming more autonomous, just like their peers.

As they mature it could be that the child can hold a full and frank conversation on the issue, and less likely that parents will need to rely on making conclusions based on their behaviour alone.

listening to older children

Parents should let children express their views and respect their decisions. Parents should listen to what they are told – believing it and acting accordingly. Parents should assume competence in their child, including when judging when the child can or cannot handle something, and what supports that young person needs in place.

Give Older Children More Choices

Parents/carers have to show them that they have choices; which will also help them to feel in control of their decisions. This will also hopefully promote independence. Allowing self-management where possible. However, try not to limit the choices, giving as many as possible.

Allow them to select things when shopping for clothes, or deciding what to wear (I know how I like to wear the same clothes – for me it is the feel and the practicality); by having lots of breakfast options available for them to select from; and so on. See Sensory Processing Issues with Clothing.

sensory processing issues with clothes
Photo by Senjuti Kundu on Unsplash

Alter Your Boundaries Accordingly

Question why we want things a certain way. Is it really important (eg their teeth will become bad, risk of skin cancer for not wearing sun cream) or is it something we would like them to do? Personally I get hot super easily and people always want me to wear more clothes when they feel it is colder – how many parents feel that their child NEEDS a coat in winter, when they’re honestly not cold!

This may mean altering your own boundaries of what you feel is acceptable. In the breakfast example our son will eat plain pancakes but cannot make them himself. He has recently started learning to cook himself toast but will only eat it smeared in jam. As parents we do not feel that jam every day is good for his health, but actually his independence is more important. We keep having discussions about why we do not feel jam every day is good and suggest alternatives but ultimately it is him who needs to decide to change this.

lots of jam on toast - helping older children be independent

Give Older Children Explanations

This will involve having plenty of discussions about things. This will also help them to consider and extend their understanding of their own needs.

Like it is no good just telling them that they have to brush their teeth but what could happen as a consequence if they chose not to do so. That the choice is actually theirs. Get them to consider what it is about brushing their teeth that makes them not want to do it. Help them think about the choices they have in regards to when, where and how they brush (what type of brush and paste) their teeth.

Help them to Understand their Sensory Needs

It may be that the child does not understand and needs more support. Sometimes the child will have put in their own strategies but without even realising it. Parents could talk to their child and help them better understand what tools and strategies they are using. For example, I know that The Sensory Seeker calms down when he gets into his Art or Music.

Egg Carton Christmas Trees

This may include acting out scenarios – even things that have happened before or what may happen so that they know what to do in that situation. Help them devise a sensory diet and incorporate feedback into daily activities.


The chronological age may not match development, so make sure that everything is appropriate for where they are at. Develop the language around sensory awareness and model it. Also be aware that some of the ways they may self soothe may need monitoring too – especially for things like online gaming.

I hope this has been useful; is there anything else you can think of please?

See also: EHCP Phase Transfer Review Year 10

Advice on Periods

This question is one I am answering as part of the FREE Virtual Sensory Integration Education Annual Conference November 2022

jumbled up and backwards neon words that make no sense

Sensory Processing Disorder UK Bloggers Advice

Sensory Processing Disorder appears to be on the rise here in the UK  and so is the ever growing of information about it. Therefore it made sense to share with you some great blog post from other UK Bloggers who write about Special Needs . It is not just individuals with Sensory processing disorder who struggle with sensory issues but those with autism, downs syndrome and other cognitive and learning difficulties. The reasons why their difficulties may occur may be slightly different – but the advice and the support does cross over.sensory processing disorder uk bloggers advice and experience

What is Sensory Processing Disorder from Special Needs UK Bloggers

My understanding of sensory processing disorder is that it is an issue where the brain’s filter on the senses cannot quite cope – either letting in too much or not enough of each of the sensory inputs. That this can change the individual from sensory seeking to sensory avoiding each time they encounter the senses. That Sensory Processing disorder is hugely unpredictable – this is described well in Brody, Me & GG’s post The Unpredictability of Sensory Processing Disorder

Advice from Special Needs UK Bloggers for Sensory Issues

Actually what we need to do is just look at each individual and try to figure out how best to make things better for them. That it is the way we look at things – which is exactly what I feel Ordinary Hopes conveys in her post Autism is not the Problem.

This is what I have hoped to achieve in posts such as helping with problems such as brushing teeth, hair care and wearing clothes.

Down Side Up has also written about teeth with special needs, including a visit to the dentist and hairdressing tips for kids with Special needs; whilst Steph’s Two Girls has written about Sensory Issues with Clothes in relation to her daughter with PDA (a form of Autism).

sensory processing issues with clothes
Photo by Senjuti Kundu on Unsplash

Sensory Difficulties in an Educational Setting – advice from Special Needs UK Bloggers

Autism with Love writes about The Coke Bottle Analogy of Being at School with Sensory Processing Disorder. Comparing how a lack of the correct sensory diet at school can be likened to keep giving the bottle of coke a shake – so of course it will explode if you try to open it at the end of the day. But Starlight and Stories reminds us that funding is tight in education and that teachers are generally facing the same battles as we are, giving top tips for working with teachers  and instead also offers us ways of Reducing Sensory Overwhelm in the school setting (see also my post Sensory Processing Disorder and help at school). Whilst Autism with Love shares her Sensory Processing Disorder Tips and Advice of things that have helped her daughter.alone at playtime

I would love to know if you have read any Sensory Processing Disorder posts from UK Bloggers – or if you are one and would like to be added to the resource post then please do get in touch. Are there any topics you feel that as Sensory Processing Disorder UK Bloggers  we have not covered?

sensory processing issues with clothes

Sensory Processing Issues with Clothes

When it comes to Sensory Issues I guess their clothes is one of the first things that comes to most people’s minds that could be a problem. The thing is when it comes to Sensory Processing Disorder and clothing is there’s a lot more to it than annoying labels and seams in socks.

sensory processing issues with clothes
Photo by Matt Seymour on Unsplash

Sensory Processing Disorder is the inability of the brain to filter out the senses which it does and doesn’t need. This includes touch, taste, smell, hearing, sight, movement and balance plus sense of body position. Each one could be filtered out too much or too little and those with Sensory Processing Issues have to get the right Sensory Diet to help counteract this. When it comes to clothing the individual may be a Sensory Seeker, a Sensory Avoider or fluctuate between the two. It is important with all things related to Sensory Processing Issues that the individual has their needs met. Keep a diary to work out when and how this will be best for them and this will help work out how to deal with day-to-day things like brushing their teeth and hair – and of course getting dressed.

Identifying the Individual who has Sensory Processing Issues with Clothes

Now the individual with Sensory Processing Issues may never want to wear clothes and would be quite happily naked all the time, stripping off at every opportunity or they may like clothes tight against their skin, layering up and not want to take them off. The important thing is listen to them (this may be with actions rather than words) and let them guide you to what are their sensory needs.

Signs to look out for include:

  • Taking their clothes off when they can or hate being naked
  • Wants to be barefoot or never wants to take their shoes off
  • Always tucking their clothes in
  • Not wearing warm clothes in the cold
  • Wearing too many clothes in the heat
  • Keep wearing the same clothes over and over again
  • Picking or sucking their clothes

    sensory issues with clothes bare feet
    Photo by Jan Romero on Unsplash

Buying clothes for those with Sensory Processing Issues

When buying clothes for those with sensory processing issues there are some things to keep in mind to make life easier:

  • Consider shopping for specialist sensory clothing – including seamless socks, weighted jackets and compression clothing.
  • Take the individual with Sensory Processing Issues shopping with you. This means that they can have a say on what they do and do not want.
    • Even if they cannot talk you can gage their reaction to thinks such as the texture of the materials. If they can try them on even better – this not only ensures that the pressure is right for them but also whether they can put the clothing on and off by themselves.
    • With this in mind think about the fastenings – are they buttons, Velcro, laces, zips, poppers or elasticated? And if they hate keeping clothes on will you consider buying fastenings that they can’t undo to prevent them stripping? Is a belt an idea?
    • Let them have the control to choose and if they tell you that the size does not fit (even if it looks perfect) try to accommodate what they say (obviously not if they want trousers so long they are going to trip over them or shoes 4 sizes too small!)
    • How tight are the clothes? Around the ankles. Cuffs, waist and neck for example? Does the individual with sensory issues prefer it tight or lose? This could be the difference between boxers or briefs; sports bra or underwired bra? Do they want the clothes to be able to move around or hug the body?

      sensory processing issues with clothes
      Photo by Senjuti Kundu on Unsplash
    • How much of the body is covered? Do they prefer the air to touch their skin/or are irritating by the feel of clothing and opt for short sleeves and trousers? Is it better for them to have long sleeves/trousers? A dress would mean less of the material touching the body. Buy lots of layers if needs be – with a safe base layer at the bottom of acceptable touch/pressure (including with underwear and socks).
    • How warm are the clothes and what is the weather like? If the individual with Sensory Issues does not like clothes maybe thermal clothing would help to keep them warm whilst wearing less.
    • Consider shopping in second hand shops for the individual with sensory issues with clothes, as they have been washed many times and this can change the texture.

      sensory processing issues with clothes
      Photo on Unsplash
  • When it comes to shoes they may want the sensory input and so laces will help them feel tight and secure. But if they are unable to do up laces then Velcro may be a better option. If they do not like the feel then slip on shoes would be a better choice. Another choice is to consider a brand of barefoot footwear which is the most like not wearing anything on the feet sensory-wise but without the disadvantage of hurting the feet (on broken glass etc).
  • When you find clothing that the Individual with Sensory Issue likes then buy in bulk, including the size they are (for when they are dirty) and bigger sizes (if they are still growing). Consider whether a change of colour will make a difference, but if unsure it is best to stick to exactly the same garment. You may also wish to cut out any labels to avoid irritation.

    Photo by Katya Austin on Unsplash

Other things to Consider for Individuals with Sensory Issues with Clothing

  • Be careful how you wash the clothes – ensuring that the smell is right, and how it may affect the texture (deciding on whether to add fabric conditioner). Again if you use a tumble dryer consider how this will alter the texture and smell – but also be careful not to shrink it too!
  • Pick your battles and set boundaries. Ask yourself whether it really matters whether they are wearing clothes in the house, if they have a jumper on or if their clothes do not match/look silly. Focus on things that you feel do matter and have rules – like answering the front door/sitting at the dinner table having a pants on rule.
  • If the individual with sensory issues does not like wearing clothes then make getting dressed as part of their routine. Utilise dressing-up clothes, especially if they are available in their special interest. Allow them plenty of time and slowly get them to wear clothes for longer and longer. Or the opposite – for taking them off.

Pressure for the Individual with Sensory Issues Prior to getting Dressed/Undressed

As I stated at the start a sensory diet is really important and other things apart from the clothes can have a massive impact on the individual with sensory issues that can affect how they feel about them. The touch on the skin prior to getting dressed (or after getting under-dressed) can change how the individual reacts and may be able to prevent a meltdown. A light-touch can be alerting and deep-pressure is calming. You could try techniques such as brushing and swaddling or rubbing down with lotion.jeans sensory issues clothing

I have been really lucky with The Sensory Seeker and he just likes clothes to be tight and tucked in so I have never had to buy any specialist clothing. Personally I cannot stand long sleeves and tend to live in vest tops and put a jumper on and off as required. As soon as I get home I strip down to whatever is acceptable, starting with my shoes and socks as soon as I walk through the door. If I get too hot and irritated I get to the point where I feel I cannot breath and get very snappy. I have never been diagnosed so would be interested to hear how others feel. I am a practical clothes wearer and you can read about my struggle with jeans lately. I have also got a coat which I love as it has a bit around the waist which pulls it in closer, stopping the cold air getting in. The sleeves also have extra bits to slip my hands into – ironically I like these as I hate things touch my arms – but I don’t like to wear the coat when driving.

If you know of good places to buy clothes for the individual with sensory issues or have any more problems or advice on this issue I would love you to comment below; thank you.

sensory swimming

Sensory Processing Disorder and Swimming

Swimming is important for those with Sensory Processing Disorder as they may either be afraid of the water or not aware of the fact they can drowned – and therefore having the ability to swim may save their lives.

sensory swimming

Swimming for Development

Swimming is also good for developing fine and gross motor skills/motor planning, attention, listening to instructions, communication, social interaction, group work, and self esteem.

I remember when The  Sensory Seeker first went into the pool he loved the feel of the water so much he just tried to keep going as deep as he could (with the poor lifeguard keep bringing him back). It is such a great skill to learn and can be life changing. We have given The Sensory Seeker a mix of group, individual and intensive lessons and he has really come on a long way. And it is not just his swimming that has improved.

Swimming can be in lessons in a pool or the sea, or just family fun. Of course you can help slowly build up in the bath – or swimming could help develop water confidence to go onto the bath or shower!

Swimming and The Auditory Sense (Hearing)

You have to consider whether you are taking a Sensory Seeker or Sensory Avoider. There are going to be lots of sounds and they echo around – both above and below the water. Different times of day, and indeed different days, will have more or less sounds dependent on how busy/popular they are. If you have an Avoider you can buy swimming ear-plugs which may help to block out some of the sounds. Also consider the changing rooms – does the complex have a family change which may be more isolating and quieter?

Wild swimming can make it easier to control this.

sensory swimming

Ideally it would be good if pools offered quiet times to swim such as the Relaxed Performances offer, or the Autism Hours that Supermarkets and now offering more and more. Or just to be able to show the individual around so that they can get used to their surrounds/what to expect. The trouble is more and more we are not allowed to take photos of the pools – but check their websites to see if they have any still or video footage of what to expect.

Swimming and The Visual Sense (vision/seeing)

When it comes to the visual sense it depends on where you go. Some pools are literally places to swim with just water and better for Sensory Avoiders. Others can have lots of stimulation including slides, tipping buckets, water spraying out, wave machines, waterfalls, inflatables, toys, Seascooters and so on. Just be aware of how much time you spend there as to whether the individual with Sensory Processing Disorder becomes overstimulated.

sensory seeker seascooter

Swimming and the Tactile (touch)

I guess the tactile sense could be very problematic if you have a Sensory Avoider – from the touch of the costume to the feel of the water. You may want to consider which is harder for them – the costume or the water – and then decide whether you get one that covers them up (and a swim hat) or one that allows them to be as free as possible (check the pool rules as to whether they can wear “Bermuda style shorts”). They may need to gently become encouraged over time (especially if they are sensitive to the temperature of the water). Overall this may help with other hygiene issues as they get used to the feel of water on their body and overcoming the fear of putting their head under water – which will inevitably help with washing their hair.

Swimming and Proprioception (Sense of body position, from information received through the muscles, and joints – force, speed and control) and Vestibular Sense – Movement and Balance/Gravity

sensory swimming

Swimming is good for Proprioception (muscles and joints) body positioning/awareness, movement and balance (vestibular). You may need to consider the other people around you but usually there is plenty of room. For Sensory Seekers pools with lots of slides and action can be great for this – and pools are certainly great places for them to move about a lot! Seascooters are great because it can really pull them along, moving their body right under the water – whilst they retain some control.

Swimming and Olfactory (smell)

The only problem I can think of with smell is the chlorine in the pool (and possibly the smell of other people). Apparently there are certain pools who do not use chlorine if this is a problem.

The Sensory Seeker and Swimming

As I say we have had to try a variety of different types of swimming lesson to help get The Sensory Seeker where he is today. He doesn’t always listen and can be slower than the others (in terms of time to actually swim across and picking it up). But when we consider how far he has come, and how well he is doing it is an amazing difference. Most importantly he can swim pretty well now. He loves the water – especially going underneath. In fact his favourite thing to do is bob up and down under the water vertically (it actually looks like he is drowning and am sure scared many a lifeguard!). At the end of the day we want him to see swimming as a fun activity so also regularly go as a family and actually travel quite far to visit pools with great slides and things to do.

Sensory Seeker Progress Aged 6
Disneyland with Sensory Processing Disorder

Disneyland with Sensory Processing Disorder

Disneyland with Sensory Processing Disorder

I think that it is obvious from the mere mention of Disneyland that this is going to be a place with plenty of sensory experiences. How someone manages Disneyland with Sensory Processing Disorder is going to be determined by how they are effected. This post is written in terms of how we helped The Sensory Seeker when we visited Disneyland Paris and an insight into things you may want to consider if planning a visit. The things may also apply to other Disney parks.

Disneyland with Sensory Processing Disorder

How old is the person you are taking to Disneyland with Sensory Processing Disorder?

We had previously taken The Sensory Seeker in the first two years of his life. Obviously we were unaware of his Sensory Processing Disorder at that time and believed things were due to his age. He pretty much cried and cried the whole time. Obviously we have also learnt a lot more about how to deal with his Sensory issues since but I do think you need to consider the person’s age. And height. As with all theme parks there are restrictions on rides with minimum height requirements. Some children are easier than others to explain this to. Find out which rides they can and cannot go on and plan accordingly.

When to go to Disneyland with Someone with Sensory Processing Disorder

I think you really need to ask yourself what is best for the individual with Sensory Processing Disorder. If they are an avoider then it is going to be much harder for them to cope with peak season for example. Or the added touches of celebrations of Halloween and Christmas may be far too overwhelming. What are their main sensory problems – for example Spring is more likely to have a very high smell from the flowers.

Disneyland with Sensory Processing Disorder

How long is the park open (as it is open much later with fireworks/music/lights display on selected dates not all). If they are of school age and not home schooled I think that you need to consider how missing school will affect them by going at a quieter period. Personally we went in the May half term holidays – this is slightly quieter as French children are still at school. We felt that The Sensory Seeker is behind his peers too far to miss school for that period of time. Also think about how long you are going for. Would it be better lots of days and spread it out, or would one day in the parks suit the individual better and get it all out of the way? Think realistically about what you want to cover. It really helped us that we had been previously so knew which rides to head for. Also check what will be open.

When to tell the individual with Sensory Processing Disorder that they are going to Disneyland

A lot of things I would agree that planning and preparation is key. With Disneyland I don’t feel so much. The Sensory Seeker was told the night before, and even then I feel this was too early. He knows what Disneyland is, it is on the television ALL the time. He was hyped and had trouble sleeping. My only real problem with not preparing him is that he thought that we were going to Disney World and so was disappointed to find a pink castle.

How going to Disneyland can affect those with Sensory Processing Disorder


There’s going to be a lot of noise stimulation – from the crowds, music from the carnivals, the rides. This can be a problem for both avoiders and seekers (as they can become overstimulated) – you may want to consider the use of ear plugs or headphones. They could take an i-pod and have their favourite music on it, or some calming down sounds. We also took a Kidizoom Smart Watch as he was able to record sounds into it – which is what helps him calm down (and was great whilst he had to wait). Think about how much noise there will be on each ride – will you need to warn them? Will it have any sudden sounds? Before you go try to work out where the more noise and quiet areas of the park are. Offer breaks and seek solace in the quiet. If your child is not scared of hand dryers then I found that these were quieter and offered a welcome break. Listen to them and give them control about what they want to do.

Disneyland with Sensory Processing Disorder


You cannot escape the visual stimulation at Disneyland. I couldn’t even begin to list it but the rides and special effects, the characters, the flowers, the Castle, the displays – I could go on.  Again consider the rides – is it dark or are there a lot of light effects. If they are a seeker think about spacing out the stimulating rides so that they do not over stimulate themselves. Sunglasses and hats are good at reducing the visual stimulation for avoiders. Seek places to sit in the shade or where it is darker – such as under trees. If a Seeker cannot get enough visual stimulation whilst at Disneyland (perhaps whilst waiting) then maybe take a toy spinner with lots of colours for them to focus on. This may also help you move on around the park if they get fixated with the visual stimulation in one part of the park/ride. If you take a pushchair (or hire one) consider getting a dark cover for it to block out the light and allow some chill out time.

Proprioception & Vestibular

This is really a case of thinking about the rides again. Will they throw out their sense of proprioception – and how will they cope with this in such a crowded environment. Find the space for them if they need to spin around, or run, or allow them time out/let them rock, take weighted items with you if needs be, and consider hiring a pushchair (which isn’t like the “baby” versions). Let them carry the backpack – the weight of it will give them more of an awareness about where their body is.


This will differ depending on the weather. Will you have a problem with getting them to wear sun lotion or a hat? Will hot or cold weather be better for their coping? Could they wear gloves/ear defenders/a coat? The Sensory Seeker actually got us to buy a new hat with ears that hang down the sides of his face.

Disneyland with Sensory Processing Disorder

Think about how you cope normally with issues such as labels and textures in clothing. Might this change throughout the day with the different stimulation? Could you take alternate clothes? (We took them in case of a toileting accident too). What will they be like in the crowds? You can visit Guest Services in City Hall to get a green card which will help with queuing/parades/displays etc. Take with you proof of the condition (they recommended a blue parking badge). They will also give a guide to disabilities and are very helpful. This will allow the individual with Sensory Processing Disorder not to have to stand in the big queues. The Sensory Seeker is very much into touching people’s faces and licking them so this card helped a great deal. Again a weighted blanket is good, and/or something to fiddle with.

We took plenty of snacks – try to take ones with a variety of textures. Also think about whether the Character meet and greets are okay for your child or a bit too overwhelming. Alternative watch the carnival as they go by but do not get too close. If you are staying at night it can get very dark but there are also lots of lovely lights around the park.

Disneyland with Sensory Processing Disorder

Note the worst part for me, never mind The Sensory Seeker, was getting through the bag check. It is crowded and people push (so desperate to get into the park). If you book a Disney hotel you get magic hours which means you can go earlier so it is less busy. There are quicker queues if you have no bag so I let my family go through and meet me on the other side.


Check out what foods there are available before you go. You can take things in with you too. There are lots of water fountains about but we knew that The Sensory Seeker would not drink it so took some squeezy in to flavour it.

Disneyland with Sensory Processing Disorder


There are a LOT of flowers and smells from food. You could take your own scent in a bottle or on a cloth. Other than that I am not sure what you could do about it but it is something to be aware of. If anyone has any suggestions about this sense (or any of the others) I would appreciate your comments in the box below please.

Top Tips for Disneyland Paris and Sensory Processing Disorder

  • If you can book the on-site hotel – this will give you the opportunity for breaks, quietness, leaving things (such as weighted blankets) and so you can watch the firework display without it being too crowded/noisy (I say this I have never actually stayed so please check this is accurate).
  • Continue any Sensory Diet and Sensory exercises that you utilise at home.
  • Split up as a family if need be – allowing the individual time to relax or go on rides that suit their needs without the whole day needing to revolve around them.
  • Consider whether rides are proprioceptive (spinny), calming (water), dark or with lots of lights.
  • Listen to them – they may have loved spinning around at the beginning of the day but by the end it may all be too much.
  • Most importantly be flexible. For example if you were planning on staying for the fireworks and they just cannot cope then it won’t be enjoyable for anyone.
  • If you have a Seeker go and visit the big fan in Walt Disney Studios.

Visit Pinkoddy or tips on visiting Disneyland Paris on a small budget.  Plus see Top Tips for Disneyland Paris – Guide to EuroDisney. With special thanks to AttractionTix who made the trip affordable.

Sensory Temperature Issues and Possible Solutions

Sensory Processing Disorder is when the brain struggles with the ability to filter out stimulus from the senses, which  it does not need to function at that time. One of the senses that may be affected is that of temperature. However, sensory temperature issues are not often discussed in their own right. I believe that sensory temperature issues may just be the difficulty at work in many situations, therefore it is best to consider whether there is a problem. This is known as one of the problems with the interoceptive sense.

Sensory Temperature Issues and Possible Solutions

Sensory Temperature Issues with the Environment

Those with Sensory Processing Disorder may struggle for their brains to regulate the temperature of their bodies in the environment, in the same way neurotypical people do. For example those with sensory temperature difficulties may feel hot whilst others feel cold.

It may be that they refuse to wear a coat, or in more extreme cases no clothes at all. I have not been diagnosed personally, but often find that when others are cold I feel really hot. Sensory difficulties with temperature can mean that heat can be really unwelcome and make those affected feel ill. Personally my skin goes all tight and itchy, my head hurts, I feel all dizzy and like I cannot breathe. It may be that the individual with Sensory temperature issues is having trouble sweating to cool down (or the opposite they might sweat too much). Read more about Sensory Issues with Clothes.

It is important to make sure that their behaviours ARE sensory temperature related and not just behavioural (such as just not wanting to wear a coat), or other sensory issues such as due to tactile sensory issues (the coat feels uncomfortable due its texture). The main difficulties The Sensory Seeker has with temperature and environment are the fact that he finds snow too cold (but really wants to touch it) and cannot stand having sun lotion on.

boy rolling a giant snowball to make a snowman base

Temperature could affect how those with sensory processing disorder/autism react in many situations because the room is either too hot or too cold – including when they are brushing their teeth, refusal to have a bath (which also needs to be the right temperature – some like it really hot, others really cold and others tepid!), eating dinner, going to sleep, etc – make sure that temperature is ruled out!

Sensory Temperature issues with Food

Whether food is the right temperature is not just an issue for those with sensory processing disorder. Have you ever been served something you found too hot or cold? You know that if it is too hot you can blow on it (or wait). That if it’s too cold it will need reheating you simply cannot eat it.

You also will appreciate that there will always be certain foods that you may prefer hot but will eat cold (in my case it is with pizza). The individual with sensory temperature issues is just the same, but may not have the same “tastes” as you.

Sensory Temperature Issues and Possible Solutions

Also because it is a problem with the brain regulating the sense of temperature, they may not like the temperature to be the same every time! So one day you may cook them scrambled egg and they may like it as soon as it’s cooked, yet another time it is deemed too hot and they wait until it is stone cold before they eat it!

We find that The Sensory Seeker is still developing an understanding of temperature (to regulate things himself) and sometimes needs persuading to try the food again (for example if it was previously too hot but now time has passed we know it will be cooler).

Ways to help with Sensory Temperature Issues

My advice would be to really get to know and understand the individual with sensory temperature issues. Ask yourself if it really is a problem, and why – are they going to get ill for example.

Think of ways you may be able to get around it for example, it is not very practical for the child to go out without any clothes on, but maybe you could find something very lightweight for them.

Sensory Temperature Issues and Possible Solutions

Consider whether clothing covers the body or not. Those who are easily cold may prefer long sleeves. I cannot stand long sleeves as I am easily hot. What I tend to do is wear layers, with a short sleeved vest top on the bottom (well above my underwear) so that I can easily adjust my temperature that way (quickly). I take a coat that can be easily stored in a bag if there is a risk of it raining. There are special clothes that can be bought to help regulate body temperature, otherwise I have heard that silk and bamboo materials are good. Of course you may be able to manipulate the temperature of the environment with heating and air-conditioning – but this may not suit others, and the individual with the sensory disorder may not like the noise (or feel).

Be patient – can you just wait for food to cool down? Could you reheat food, because they have said it is too cold when normally they like it cold? Somethings I think have to just be accepted as being “difficult” – The Sensory Seeker often asks for ice-cream but then finds it too cold to eat. We just let him try it every time. Maybe one day he will even get the association that ice-cream is cold (and he doesn’t like that).

Do you have any sensory temperature issues or solutions?

Proprioception – Sensory Processing Disorder: Body Position

What is Proprioception?

Our brains are very busy-bees. They receive a continuous flow of information from each of our 7 different sensory systems all day long, everyday- & the brain has to sort through it & prioritise the information to decide how to best understand what is going on & then decide what to do based on all of the information available. The sense Proprioception is that of body position, location, orientation, and movement. The information is received through receptors in muscles and joints – for example force, speed and control, about how and where we are moving in the space around us.  This is basically where each part of our body is in relation to others, and how much effort is required from each of the parts to get the desired movement. This can affect how we drink from a cup with control, throw a ball to hit a target, how to move our body to fit through 4 desks in a small space.

Proprioception - Sensory Processing Disorder: Body Position

Proprioception is probably the hardest area to really pin-point as a sensory processing issue. There’s lots of overlap with other skills (like motor planning) so the thinking part to do with making a plan about how you’re going to carry out a movement & going along with it.  Issues are to do with too much or too little information processed by our brains. Horse riding has been found to help with this sense, as swimming.

Proprioception - Sensory Processing Disorder: Body Position

Impairment of the proprioception sense is most reported at times of growth particularly during adolescence and is worse when the individual is tired.

The Sensory Seeker and Proprioception

We noticed with The Sensory Seeker that at preschool he was unable to pour something from one container to the other, as he was unable to understand the relationship between his body parts and the effort (when to stop) of when to pull back (from pouring). I think that him standing on his head/spinning etc is his way of trying to understand this – but this is my Mom theory and not based on anything scientific. We find plenty of time on the trampoline helps and taking things slowly when walking down stairs/slopes.


Identifying Sensory Processing Disorder with Proprioception

TOO MUCH  – Can be seen by movements being stiff.

How we can help

•Have a ‘time out’ corner
•Provide slow rocking movements to help relieve muscle tension
•Allow breaks from movement activities


• Use way too much force with objects e.g. jerky when drinking from a cup, push really hard with glue
• Push or lean heavily against people or walls
• Might prefer tight clothing
• Toileting problems (e.g. lack of awareness of need to go)
• Drooling
• Spill from mouth when eating
• Might appear rough or aggressive, like ‘rough-housing’

How we can help
• Allow them to lean on something when sitting (compensating when already fatigued/ end of day)
• Sit on a therapy ball

Proprioception - Sensory Processing Disorder: Body Position

• Use heavy or weighted items to give more awareness about where their body is (e.g. heavy cups and spoons)
• Place something weighted on their lap while sitting e.g. bean-bag, back-pack over shoulders/ weighted products – lappad, jacket etc.
• Give them ‘heavy-work’ jobs- e.g. moving chairs, carrying books/ boxes of toys.

This is not a sponsored post.

Many thanks to the Children’s Occupational Therapy Gloucestershire Care Services NHS Trust for supply this information and granting me permission to use it.

Sensory Processing Disorder Auditory Sense Hearing

Auditory Sense

Sensory Processing – The Auditory Sense (Hearing)

Sensory Processing Disorder Auditory Sense HearingWe receive lots of information through all of the seven senses. They tell us what we can hear, feel, see, smell, taste, which way up we are and movement. We then filter out which bits of information we need to make sense of things, and to tell us how to behave. Sometimes we all can struggle with which of the senses to filter out.  This post looks at the auditory sense (hearing). Think of it like when there is the noise of a tapping pen, or water dripping, and we are trying to concentrate on something/someone. We may even have to do something about it to make it stop. We may even get annoyed and SHOUT.

People with sensory integration disorder (or sensory processing disorder) have trouble registering and organising the information, making it difficult for them to learn and function in the World. For them it may not just be the noise of the pen or water but all the sounds in their immediate environment – no matter how loud or quiet. There are times when the child is over aroused and needs calming down, or maybe the child is too calm and needs arousing, and it is also normal to switch between the two.

The Sensory Seeker and The Auditory Sense

I do think that when The Sensory Seeker is upset, or I am thinking about his Sensory Diet, the auditory sense is the hardest one (for me) to remember. We first noticed that he did not like hand dryers, fireworks, motorbikes, the vacuum cleaner, or even his brother talking could really irritate him. He would cover his ears in real pain and sometimes cry out too. Other times he really likes a lot of noise, and will make up little sounds to calm himself, or be very loud.

Auditory Hypersensitivity –  TOO MUCH

Sensory Processing Disorder Auditory Sense Hearing• Distressed by sudden or loud noises
• Distressed by sounds that don’t bother others (e.g. phone ringing)
• Cannot focus/ complete a task when there is background sound
• Scared of appliances like lawn-mower outside, blender
• Seek out quiet areas
• Hear sirens, aeroplanes, cars driving past before anyone else
• Vocalise loud/ constant noises (to block out other noises or sounds)
• Might be scared of, or avoid hand-dryers or toilets
 What we can do to help
• Warn them when possible if there is going to be a loud noise.
• LABEL the source of the sound e.g. “Johnny does that sound feel loud to your ears? It is the lawn-mower.”
• Give the option of a ‘time out/ quiet corner’ if there is going to be e.g. loud music. My son likes the book corner.
• Give them somewhere quiet to eat their lunch.
• Seat the child away from the door.
• Use fan or background noise to muffle loud/ unexpected sounds.
• Teach the child to hum to block out noise.
• Provide personal ear phones where possible.
Sensory Processing Disorder Auditory Sense Hearing• Give them control – like using the vaccuum cleaner.
• Start slowly -Let them help with noisy appliances whilst they are not noisy (like unloading the washing machine), then put the machine on whilst you are with them and warn them about the sounds – maybe start with ear defenders/covering their ears, and slowly build up to them being in front of the machine on their own.
• If they have made an association that something makes a loud sound they don’t like – such as a balloon bursting – then try to get them to play with them, and show them that no harm will come to them.

Auditory Hypo-sensitivity – NOT ENOUGH

Sensory Processing Disorder Auditory Sense Hearing• Seek out all the toys on the mat that make the most noise.
• Constantly vocalising loudly
• Talk louder than other people
• Like to make a lot of noise (e.g. banging on the table)
• Crave/ respond positively during or after loud music
• Enjoy strange or certain sounds
• Might float aimlessly & not follow your verbal instructions
• Not respond when you verbally tell them instructions
• Appear to ignore others voices
What we can do to help
• Use hand gestures to help get your message across
• Touch them firmly to get their attention before speaking/ giving instructions
• Allow time for noisy play (we have a noisy toy box)
• Where possible- use learning through sound/ music
• Provide lively music in the background during e.g. bathing, getting dressed etc.
• Use extra visual supports- e.g. visual schedule, social story, stand in one place when giving instructions

Sensory Processing Disorder Auditory Sense HearingCalming

  • Consistency in noise levels
  • Quiet calm and well paced voices
  • Consistent rhythms


  • Variations in noise levels
  • Erratic, loud or screaming voices
  • Variations in rhythms eg. fast and slow music combined
  • Sudden unexpected noises
Many thanks to the Children’s Occupational Therapy Gloucestershire Care Services NHS Trust for supply this information and granting me permission to use it.
Sensory processing disorder and visiting at Christmas

Visiting family and friends at Christmas with Sensory Processing Disorder

Sensory processing disorder and visiting at ChristmasChristmas is a time when we go visiting a lot of family and friends which can be difficult for individuals with Sensory Processing Disorder. But when it comes to Sensory Processing Disorder techniques to help with Christmas, what works for one individual will not necessarily work for another. You need to look at the individual’s Sensory Make-up – each of the seven senses (vision (sight), tactile (touch), auditory (hearing), gustatory (taste), Vestibular (movement & gravity), olfactory (smell) and proprioception (sense of body position, from information received through the muscles, and joints – force, speed and control) and whether there is a problem filtering with too much, too little or a mix of the two) and determine what their individual needs are based on that.

Problems visiting Family & Friends for individuals with Sensory Processing Disorder at Christmas

The individual with Sensory Processing Disorder may very well not like change: The brain is already struggling to make sense of the World without added pressures of it constantly changing. At Christmas people often go visiting friends and family that they do not see regularly, which can be hard on the individual with Sensory Processing Disorder. Added to that is the environment can be greatly heightened with lights, noise, and extra people – which can be quite an overload for the resister or they may want to touch, hug squeeze more (for example) if they are a Sensory Seeker.

Sensory Processing Strategies for Coping with visiting family and friends this Christmas

Planning. If possible know as much about what is going to happen as you can. This means you can prepare. Knowing how far it is, how long you will be, what will happen, who will be there will greatly improve the likelihood of smooth visiting.

How far: Will they need something to keep them calm on the journey. We have a ds, tablet and in car dvd player.  If there is an unexpected long journey with have apps on our phone. Although this is advice for any child to stop them becoming bored when visiting family and friends, for those with Sensory Processing Disorder it can help them calm down and remain focused.

How long: Knowing how long visiting will last can help better prepare the individual with Sensory Processing Disorder. Make sure you explain things in terms they understand; for example with the use of time. It would be no use telling our Sensory Seeker that we would be visiting until 7pm, but he would understand if we told him that the visit would end by bedtime. It also helps prepare for whether other things need to be packed – do they need to take an activity, favourite toy, ipad/ds, etc – are they likely to have an “accident” and need a change of clothes packing, will they need something to ensure they eat/drink – like a special cup? Are their Sensory Issues likely to become a problem whilst they are there? Do you need to take things to help deal with those issues whilst still there (will you need a weighted blanket/lappad with you, head phones, eye mask/sunglasses, squeezy, chewy or favourite toy.

What will happen whilst visiting and who will be there: if you can talk to them before you go then they can be prepared. If it is a party situation then it may be noisy – music and party poppers, or additional lights (see this guide on parties as it will be pretty similar). Is it possible to arrange a safe place to go, do they know where the toilet is – or who they should ask about it? Will there be people they do not know? Do they know what to do if someone wants to hug or kiss them? If they do not like it may be they could offer a hi-five or to offer to shake hands instead. Have they got something to help them cope if they want to kiss/hug people more than is socially acceptable (I tend to get him to come and give me a bear squeeze instead).

If you can think of any other problems and/or solutions for visiting family and friends at Christmas for the individual with Sensory Processing Disorder then please do reply below.

Touching - Sensory Processing Disorder (Tactile Sense)

Touch – Sensory Processing Disorder (Tactile Sense)

Touching - Sensory Processing Disorder (Tactile Sense)Touch is the area that sent off the biggest alarm bells for us that our son had Sensory Processing Disorder. I say us it was the Pediatrician who first noticed it, as we struggled to peel him from stroking her shiny tights. We had completely missed the fact that he loved to cover himself in paint, and stroke people’s faces – we just thought that it was his age.

Sensory Processing Disorder is when the information we constantly received by the seven senses is misinterpreted by the brain when it is processed. Sometimes our brains say there is TOO MUCH information coming in, and sometimes NOT ENOUGH. One of the areas this happens in is that of the Tactile sense – or touch.

Does your Child have Sensory Processing Disorder problems in the Tactile Sense (Touch)?

They may have problems with too much, too little or a mix of the two.

Signs of Too Much

Avoiding Touch

• Going barefoot, especially in sand or on grass, wearing sunscreen, hats, messy play with hands & feet (sand, mud, finger-paint). We often find a compromise of letting him wear sandals (no socks) even in Winter helps. Look out for any tags or labels on clothing/ hats that might bother them. Consider types of fabrics most preferred by the child. Use natural fibres e.g. cotton. Wash clothing before wear. Seam-less socks & underwear brands: online; or

They become distressed during hair-brushing or cutting (our son was actually physically sick when he felt the hair fall and touch his skin. He is getting better but it is usually a case of one parent restraining him whilst the other just gets on with it (shaving in the case of hair). Allow the child as much control & independence as possible (e.g. control force & duration of own tooth-brush). Give warning prior to a disliked activity & talk them through it. Let them know how long until activity is finished (e.g. brush hair for the length of a favourite song/ use a timer set for 1 minute). Touch FIRMLY but gently. Light touch= startling. FIRM touch= calming. Always approach from the front. Warn them before you touch them. Use mirrors (e.g. hair-brushing, cutting, nail cutting, teeth brushing) so the child can see what is happening & increase control. The brushing technique helps with personal grooming. Avoid fans or vents blowing directly on child.

Touching - Sensory Processing Disorder (Tactile Sense)They use finger-tips instead of their whole hand. Give opportunities to play but without their hands e.g. touch play-dough/ paint with a brush/ spoon etc. before fingers. Slowly build them up – ie just started with finger-tips, then fingers, and reward them for trying it. Even let them play with their food.

They complain of being poked or bumped (this was common for both my oldest and youngest not understanding how much pressure people had used when touching them).  They over-react to touch – e.g. lashes out. They avoid standing in line or close to others. They walk on their toes. They prefer to be in a protected place e.g. in a corner/ under a table. Pair them with a child that won’t prod or poke them. Have designated spots on the mat (e.g. carpet squares).Get the child to be the line starter/ ender/ hold the door.

Not Enough – The Sensory Seeker

Touching - Sensory Processing Disorder (Tactile Sense) They touch people & objects to the point of irritating them (our Sensory Seeker is forever holding people’s faces in his hands).

• They like people to touch him/ her (fantastic for cuddles).

• They are constantly touching other people’s hair or clothing (or just general touching – good idea to carry wipes. Do you have any idea how dirty the Tube is in London Underground but he HAD to touch it, then he didn’t want the black all over his hands and tried to rub it off on a stranger!!!!)

• They love to be barefoot (barefoot trails are just heaven).

• They pinch, bites, or hurts self (and/or others).

• They have a really high pain & temperature threshold.

• They hit or bang their head on purpose.

• They throw themselves on the ground.

• They enjoy rough play.

Touching - Sensory Processing Disorder (Tactile Sense)How to Help

• Allow them to fiddle with something that is appropriate & doesn’t distract others e.g. a pasta necklace/ bracelet; elastic necklace/ something with resistance. We have tags at the end of his weighted blanket. Allow a fidget toy in their pocket during seated time (e.g. car rides, mat time). *May need a social story to teach rules of use. Provide a squeeze/ stress ball for times that may be difficult.

• Be specific with words- “if you want to touch something- you touch …. Bracelet/ squeeze ball etc. so they have an alternative to their behaviour.

• Select highly textured clothing & lots of accessories e.g. head-bands, wrist-bands, belts.

Touching - Sensory Processing Disorder (Tactile Sense)Provide textured blankets or sheets for sleeping. We have surrounded him with teddies in his bed to aid night times as he was waking a lot and kept getting in or bed. But there he would really annoy us. There’s no other way to describe it – tickling, even scratching and kicking us – just really needing to get some sort of sensory touch input from us.

• Give opportunities to learn through touch experiences e.g. sand play, water play, messy play, finger-paints. Add textures to toy surfaces e.g. sand in finger-paints.

Touching - Sensory Processing Disorder (Tactile Sense)Products & Resources:

Many thanks to the Children’s Occupational Therapy Gloucestershire Care Services NHS Trust for supply this information and granting me permission to use it. This post is a redraft of a post previously published on Pinkoddy.