plan your trip for a time when there won’t be a lot of people. talk about what to expect before you enter a situation that could be overwhelming. build in time for some jumping jacks or toe touches to help regulate the sensory system. find a calm time to talk about ways to make things less stressful. or to explain to your host that there are certain foods you just can’t eat? that’s because they can’t control every aspect of their daily lives. all of these can create stress — and sensory overload. but kids and adults with sensory processing issues struggle with it. they may try to avoid sensory input they can’t tolerate. other people may be less sensitive to things like temperature and noise. anxiety is more common in people who are oversensitive. sources of stress may include: sensory overload happens when one or more of our senses is overstimulated.
there’s suddenly too much information coming in for our brain to process. or the morning routine of getting dressed. different things can trigger sensory overload in different people. a grade-schooler who’s oversensitive to food flavors and textures may refuse to go to a sleepover because she’s worried about what she’ll have to eat at her friend’s house. for instance, kids who dread getting dressed in the morning may be oversensitive to clothing. one big clue is that it’s rare for sensory issues to be limited to one thing — like getting dressed. a child with sensory issues might dread getting dressed every morning. learn more about sensory processing issues and what may be adding to the anxiety. for instance, kids with adhd often have sensory issues and anxiety. they may refer you to a specialist who can help, like a psychologist or an occupational therapist. keri wilmot is an occupational therapist who works with children of varying ages and abilities in all areas of pediatrics. understood does not provide medical or other professional advice.
i can almost guess what parents are going to say before they say it. a child who is sensitive to the core, both inside and out. it is not surprising then that a good portion of those anxious kids have sensory processing disorder (spd) as well. that is why i am often the initial introduction to the letters spd and not an occupational therapist. is it the spd causing the anxiety? a child therapist? sensory processing disorder and anxiety are simpatico. not every child with anxiety has spd and not every child with spd has anxiety, but a large proportion do. they might wake up in a rage because they have to put on clothes. they might worry about fire drills because they are so loud. they might be consumed with their health. they are equally important and they are equally destructive.
the good news is both can get better. and i have watched kids crush their anxiety. i have had shoes chucked at my head. like the time i brought my child to a wedding wearing a casual cotton dress and flip flops. a small bit of food had to be left on the plate. with help and support, these children can blossom. she has learned to be more in tune with her skin. spd and anxiety can bring any family to their knees. do you have a child with sensory processing disorder and anxiety? taught by a child therapist, you will be given all the skills to help your child fight back. this site is for informational purposes only and should not be used to replace the guidance of a qualified professional. i would never endorse any product i didn’t recommend.
the reason people with sensory problems have recurring, stubborn anxiety is because many spd’ers lack the ability to habituate (become accustomed to) new people with sensory processing issues often feel anxious. that’s because they can’t control every aspect of their daily lives. something can pop up that makes spd can cause a child to feel overwhelmed. they might have anxiety about situations that trigger their sensitivities, like crowds or new foods. they might wake, .
sensory overload and anxiety are mental health conditions that are deeply related to one another. when a person feels anxious or already overwhelmed, they may be more prone to experiencing sensory overload in certain situations. likewise, experiencing sensory overload can make you feel a sense of anxiety. mental health conditions such as generalized anxiety disorder and ptsd can also trigger sensory overload. anticipation, fatigue, and stress can all contribute to a sensory overload experience, making senses feel heightened during panic attacks and ptsd episodes. while it’s not impossible that living with an anxiety disorder could make you more prone to overstimulation, many people with sensory processing simple everyday experiences can feel so overwhelming to someone whose sensory system is sensitive and over-firing. sounds, sights, smells, touch how anxiety affects touch sensory abnormalities related to touch are common, although often the person suffering from them doesn’t realize that it’s a sensory, .
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