Sensory Processing Disorder

Sensory Processing Disorder

Understanding and Supporting Children with Sensory Processing Challenges

Let's take a peek into how our kids' amazing brains work.

Picture this: when you hear your name, you might quickly look up, or if you touch something hot, you'll instantly pull your hand away. It's like your brain is on autopilot, reacting in the blink of an eye!

Now, here's the scoop: some awesome children and adults might find this a bit challenging because of something called Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). It's like their inner self-regulation system can sometimes go on a rollercoaster, causing unexpected moves and leading to inappropriate motor responses when their sensory system is overwhelmed.

Hand Flapping?

Sometimes, you might notice children with Autism or other SPDs doing things like hand flapping or jumping. It might seem curious, but these actions are actually their way of handling sensory overload and sorting through all the information around them. Surprisingly, these responses have some thing's in common with the subtle behaviours we adults show, like tapping a foot when we're feeling a bit uneasy.

Disabled child flapping her hands as sitting at a table


So, those little movements your child makes, like hand flapping or jumping, aren't always a big deal. But, sometimes, they can become a bit much. Some children actually enjoy doing these things, and it can turn into a loop of repeated actions. That's where it gets tricky! To help out, it's super important to introduce different ways or new behaviours that can replace the ones causing a stir. This helps break the cycle and encourages more socially accepted responses.

Strategies for Intervention

  • Provide Different Options

When your child's energy needs a shift, trying out different activities is a game-changer. Get them into arts and crafts, dive into sensory bins, or hand them some cool tactile tools like putty and fidgets – it keeps those hands happily busy. Plus, checking out new sensory experiences, like chewies for a bit of oral action, aromatherapy for cool smells, or swings for some swaying fun, gives them alternative ways to engage their senses. It's all about finding what clicks for them!

Someone's hand playing with a fidget toy

  • Encourage Movement

If your child likes hand flapping or jumping, it might mean that they're not getting enough movement during the day. Ask your child's occupational therapist to support you in creating a sensory plan – like a customised "sensory diet." This helps make sure that your child gets the right amount of active play, sorting through sensory stuff and maybe cutting down on those extra movements. Teamwork makes the dream work!

Child sitting on a swing playing with a fidget toy


  • Observe and Implement

Take it one step at a time when trying out new tricks with your child. Watch closely to see how each strategy affects their behaviour. Keep a little diary of what works and what doesn't, especially noticing when those extra moves are more or less. This slow-and-steady approach helps you figure out exactly what clicks for your child, so you can customise your game plan based on their unique needs and progress. You've got this!

Child jumping in the air

Supporting children with sensory processing challenges requires patience, understanding, and a commitment to finding effective strategies. By exploring alternative inputs, encouraging movement, and carefully observing and implementing interventions, parents and/or Carers can play a pivotal role in helping children with Sensory processing Disorder learn to self-regulate. Sharing experiences and strategies within the community contributes to a collective effort in promoting the well-being of these children. If you have questions or wish to share your experiences, feel free to reach out to us at

Check out our sensory toys to help Sensory Processing Disorder!

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