Overstimulated or understimulated?

When it comes to sensory integration issues, it is not enough to diagnose the problem. You also need to know whether your child is experiencing problems with overstimulation or understimulation. The solutions to these problems differ in many ways.

Overstimulated

This is the more popular version of sensory integration disorder. It means, basically, that your child is oversensitive to certain stimuli, either visual, auditory, tactile, or referring to other senses.

The best way to deal with this kind of sensory processing problem is to avoid overstressing your child in daily situations, i.e. reducing the stimuli which cause the overstimulation. It may not be easy outside your house, for example at school, but you may try, for example by providing noise-cancelling headphones to a child who is oversensitive to loud noises.

You should also help your child learn to cope with these situations and move the tolerance border higher so that your child becomes less sensitive to these stimuli. Regular physiotherapy sessions should help with that, as well as structured play and therapy sessions in a familiar setting, for example at home.

Understimulated

In this version of the sensory integration problem your child may be hungry for stronger stimuli because the daily life isn’t sufficient to stimulate his or her senses. These children may be more often naughty and engage in risky behaviours. It is important that you provide your child with safe yet stimulating pastimes to avoid any accidents.