Published on: 30 Nov -0001
Does your child seek constant stimulation? Jumping from a height, listening to super loud music or staring into bright light?
In 2020 The National Library of Medicaine in the US reported that up to 1 in 6 children are effected by Sensory Processing issues.
So what is Hyposensitivity?
"Hyposensitivity means that your child may have a small reaction to sensory input - i.e. they are not very sensitive” according to the Sensory Toolbox.
Everyone experiences sensation differently and most of us are somewhere in the middle of a spectrum but some children polarise to the ends with either extreme sensitivity or a huge lack of sensitivity. As a teacher I've seen kids do some crazy things- the hyposensitive ones are always the most interesting- they run along walls hugging close to the surface, licking windows, jumping from the climbing frame, eating their jumper- things that look weird BUT once understood these actions are totally reasonable activities for someone who is seeking stimulation and engagement with the world around them.
Hyposensitivity looks like a constant need for movement, difficulty recognising hunger, Illness or pain, attraction to loud noises, bright lights or vibrant colours according to autismspeaks.
Is this a bad thing?
Not always! But is can make interacting with the world more challenging than normal- basically the body needs more sensory input than typical children, for example; while most of us take a step, someone with hyposensitivity may need to jump in order to give their body the same amount of sensory information according to The Sensory Toolbox. Children who experience hyposensitivity are often highly adventurous, brave and actively engaging. Their energy is infectious and they bring life and excitement to activities. Hyposensitive kids bring life and action to a class, they are always keen to engage, keen to get involved and can be hugely imaginative.
How does Hyposensitivity affect learning?
Hyposensitivity may mean that your child may not respond quickly or overtly to stimuli. They may not turn their head when you call their name, they may not respond when you ask a question. They may not respond when you tap them on the shoulder. This can be really confusing as a teacher, you thinkg the child is being 'naughty' or 'challenging' but this is not the case.
It can result in using a pencil with too much force thus affecting writing. They may continually break objects or have difficulty with proprioception and managing their body within space. Hyposensitive chiuldren are complex beings, they may have all or some sensroy seeking tendancies. No two children are the same!
How does hyposenstivity affect emotional wellbeing?
Hyposensitivity can often be mistaken for aloofness or disinterest. If undiagnosed it can result in others misinterpreting the symptoms which can make it difficult to build relationships and so negatively effect well being. If understood well, however, hyposensitivity can be packaged as a positive thing where the child can celebrate their differences.
What tools support Hyposensitivity?
1. Heavy work activities that give any extra input to the joints or muscles - wearing a weighted vest, carrying heavy things, pushing a heavy box etc.
4. Digital Tools like TextHelp which highlight text, break it up into manageable chunks and even has a dictionary with pictures when you hover over any word available in multiple languages (email us for a discount!)
What methods can support hyposensitivity?
1. Set the bar high! Challenge them academically- hyposensitivity does not affect IQ, don’t simplify or reduce workload rather ensure that work is accessible by removing barriers to learning caused by hyposensitivity.
3. Celebrate! Celebrate the benefits and many advantages of being hyposensitive.
This post is a brief overview of hyposensitivity and how it can affect people. It doesn't just look at the challenges caused by hyposensitivity - we look at the many advantages of hyposensitivity. If you know or have experienced hyposensitivity leave a comment or ask a question. If you want to learn more about hyposensitivity and how to support, it check out our Course on Sensory Processing. Most importantly - let’s celebrate difference!
Catherine O'Farrell - Founder Incluzun