March 01, 2019
SENSITIVITIES IN BRIGHT CHILDREN
Bright children experience their world with a heightened sensitivity, awareness and intensity. Sensory sensitivities are common and in most cases do not limit a child’s ability to participate in meaningful life experiences. Bright children often experience the following sensitivities to their environment and may be misdiagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder.
SENSORY PROCESSING DISORDER
Sensory sensitivities that do limit a child's ability to participate in meaningful life experiences may lead to a Sensory Processing Disorder. This difference is currently accepted in the Diagnostic Classification of Mental Health and Developmental Disorders of Infancy and Early Childhood but is not recognized in the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition). There are 4 types of sensory processing differences: Dyspraxia, Sensory Modulation, Sensory Discrimination and Postural-Ocular.
Children with dyspraxia have difficulty planning, sequencing or executing unfamiliar actions. They are accident-prone and often described as clumsy. Dyspraxia can make it hard for children to complete single-step motor tasks such as brushing their hair or perform a sequence of movements such as setting a table. They may have slurred speech and be hard to understand and may struggle with copying geometric drawings.
Children with sensory modulation differences have difficulty regulating the intensity and nature of responses to sensory input. Children may withdraw from light and unexpected touch. They may gag and refuse to eat textured food or avoid messy textures such as dirt. They may have strong preferences for certain types of clothing and be highly sensitive to sounds, sights and odors.
Children with sensory discrimination disorder have problems assigning proper meaning to a particular sensory stimuli. They may have difficulty distinguishing between similar sounds, have a poor sense of movement speed and accidentally harm others during play.
Children with postural-ocular differences struggle with control and stabilization of the body during movement or rest. They may have difficulty tracking things they see and may have a fear of heights.