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Understanding Sensory Processing Issues in Toddlers: Signs, Symptoms, and Treatment Options

Sensory processing issues can have a significant impact on a child's daily life and development. Toddlers with sensory processing issues may have difficulty processing and responding to sensory information, such as touch, taste, sound, and smell. In this blog post, we'll explore sensory processing issues in toddlers and how they can be identified and treated.

Understanding Sensory Processing Issues in Toddlers.

Sensory processing issues are more common than you might think, affecting as many as 1 in 6 children. Children with sensory processing issues may have difficulty tolerating certain textures, tastes, or sounds, or they may seek out intense sensory experiences.

Some common signs of sensory processing issues in toddlers include:

  • Over- or underreacting to touch, such as a dislike of hugs or a fascination with certain textures

  • Avoiding or seeking out certain sounds or noises

  • Discomfort with certain smells or tastes

  • Over- or under-responsiveness to movement, such as a fear of swings or a need for constant movement

  • Difficulty with transitions or changes in routine

It's important to note that sensory processing issues can manifest differently in each child, and some children may have a combination of sensory seeking and sensory avoidance behaviors.

Identifying and Treating Sensory Processing Issues in Toddlers

If you suspect your toddler may have sensory processing issues, it's important to consult with your pediatrician or a qualified occupational therapist. They can conduct a comprehensive evaluation to identify any sensory processing difficulties and develop a personalized treatment plan. If you feel there is a possibility your child could have autism, spotting early signs can be critical for early intervention. Read Spotting the Signs: Early Identification of Autism in Toddlers for more information.

Treatment for sensory processing issues may involve a variety of techniques, including:

  • Sensory integration therapy, which uses play and other activities to help children process sensory information more effectively

  • Environmental modifications, such as minimizing sensory triggers in the child's environment

  • Social stories or visual aids to help the child understand and cope with sensory stimuli

  • Behavioral interventions, such as positive reinforcement and rewards for appropriate sensory responses

In some cases, occupational therapy may also be recommended to help the child develop skills and strategies for coping with sensory processing issues.

Final Thoughts

Sensory processing issues can be challenging for both toddlers and their caregivers, but with the right support and treatment, children with sensory processing issues can learn to effectively navigate their sensory environment. If you suspect your toddler may be experiencing sensory processing difficulties, don't hesitate to reach out to a qualified professional for guidance and support.


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