Gifted Children and Sensory Issues

Anyone that has heard me give presentations or talk about gifted children knows this is a topic that I am extremely interested in researching and understanding. I am going to have a series of posts over the holidays for parents about sensory disorders as it pertains to gifted children. I believe that it is important for parents to gain an understanding to help children with these issues understand why they feel like they do or why certain things might upset them. I also think there is a range of this sensory issues- some have it a lot worse than others. The characteristics listed in the cartoon below give you an idea of some of the signs.


Here is a basic definition of sensory process and the disorder from The Sensory Processing Disorder Foundation.

Sensory processing (sometimes called “sensory integration” or SI) is a term that refers to the way the nervous system receives messages from the senses and turns them into appropriate motor and behavioral responses. Whether you are biting into a hamburger, riding a bicycle, or reading a book, your successful completion of the activity requires processing sensation or “sensory integration.”

Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD, formerly known as “sensory integration dysfunction”) is a condition that exists when sensory signals don’t get organized into appropriate responses. Pioneering occupational therapist and neuroscientist A. Jean Ayres, PhD, likened SPD to a neurological “traffic jam” that prevents certain parts of the brain from receiving the information needed to interpret sensory information correctly. A person with SPD finds it difficult to process and act upon information received through the senses, which creates challenges in performing countless everyday tasks. Motor clumsiness, behavioral problems, anxiety, depression, school failure, and other impacts may result if the disorder is not treated effectively.

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