If your child is sensitive to sound, touch, taste, smell, visuals or movements, they may have a sensory need. It’s not always obvious whether a child has a sensory need. Some of the first signs can also be age-appropriate behaviour that will pass later.
Every child who has a sensory sensitivity is different, and their needs may change over time. Sensitivities are sometimes linked to autism or sensory processing disorder. But some children may have sensory needs without any connection to either.
Children might be ‘sensory seekers’, trying to meet a need through a sensation. They can also be ‘sensory avoiders’, meaning they find some sensations difficult. Some children will show signs of both.
Signs of a sensory need may include ongoing resistance to or fixations with things like:
Feeling sensitive or overloaded can sometimes prompt some children to have a meltdown. Or they might retreat to a place they feel safe, with low stimulation.
Recognising your child’s needs is the first step. If they are resisting what you see as routine tasks, try starting a behaviour diary. This can help you pinpoint what the triggers might be. Once you have a clearer idea of what helps or upsets them, there are different ways you can support.
We take your safety and privacy seriously
You don’t have to share your details with us – there are lots of reasons why you might want to remain anonymous, which we will respect. All calls are confidential, and we will always seek your agreement before we share any of your details with other organisations. The only time we will share information without your consent is if we think there is a life-threatening situation, or if you or someone else might be at risk of significant harm. On these occasions we may need to contact the Police, Ambulance Service or Children’s Social Care.
We also share anonymised data with the commissioners of this service. By using Parent Talk, you understand and give your explicit consent to this.
Your email address will not be used for any reason beyond giving you parenting information, support and advice.