HomeRelationshipsComing to our senses: living with the new children

TERRAN DAILY provides some simple, practical advice to parents on how to understand behavioral tendencies in their children.

So many children now have sensory processing issues. Have you heard this term? Did you know that the way a person’s nervous system processes sensory information can deeply affect their behavior?

We all swim in a sea of constantly changing sensation from our eyes, ears, nose, tongue and skin. The nervous system has a big job filtering out irrelevant sensation and focusing on the sensation it needs for optimal function. Think about it. Just notice for a minute everything you feel against your skin – a breeze, heat or cold, the weight of your body against your feet on the ground or your bottom on a chair, the clothing against your body, and what else? Then notice all the sounds around you, including those in the background, and everything present in your visual field in all its detail. What do you smell or taste? Tune in carefully as it may be hard to notice.


Some peoples’ nervous systems are over-sensitive – they have difficulty filtering out extraneous sensation. Imagine what the world would be like for this person – clothing itchy against the body, background noise irritating and distracting, all the visual detail overwhelming, smells and tastes often too strong. Children in this situation are often easily distracted and have trouble concentrating. They can be in a near constant state of overwhelm and anxiety.

So they try to limit the stimulation coming at them by keeping control of their environment in whatever ways they can, then we think they are rigid or controlling. When overwhelmed, an oversensitive child may suddenly go into a fight or flight response, run away, hide, or lash out at those around them. They may be picky eaters, or become upset when their hands or faces are messy. They may refuse to wear clothes or wear only certain clothes, refuse to walk barefoot or refuse to wear shoes. All these strategies to manage life in a state of over-stimulation and overwhelm make perfect sense when you understand what the child is experiencing.


Other peoples’ nervous systems are under-sensitive. They live in a sleepy state. It takes a lot of stimulation to get them going. Children in this state may not want to do much of anything, so they are seen as lazy. ...

Read the complete article in Volume 2, Issue 2