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Family Life, Health, Holidays, Parenting, Special Needs, Stages

Wiggle Room – Sensory Processing Disorder & the Holidays

November 1, 2021

With the holiday season around the corner, many of us are excited to gather around groups of friends and family to celebrate. While we are overjoyed for a semi-normal holiday season, these gatherings will be extremely difficult for many kids, especially those with sensory difficulties. 

Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) is a neurological disorder when an individual processes and perceives sensory input much differently than others, and produces abnormal responses. When an individual has SPD, their sensory systems may be over or under sensitive to certain types of sensory input related to touch, sight, smell, taste, hearing, movement, and body awareness.

A child with sensory processing disorder may exhibit (but not limited to) these types of behaviors at a large family gathering:

If you observe your child having these difficulties, it can be beneficial to consult with a pediatric occupational therapist for an evaluation. Occupational therapy can provide strategies and intervention to manage these sensory processing difficulties. 

Some strategies that an Occupational Therapist would recommend for these particular events include:

It can be also helpful to educate other family members about your child’s difficulties prior to gatherings. Know your child’s needs and be mindful of their difficulties with sensory processing during this holiday season. Keep in mind, none of us have had any of these kinds of events in over 18 months. 

Kimberly Bradley, MS, LOTR, pediatric occupational therapist, owner Kim4Kids.

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