119 Days ’til 40: Sensory Integration Issues

25 Oct


One of my sensory problems was hearing sensitivity, where certain loud noises, such as a school bell, hurt my ears.  It sounded like a dentist drill going through my ears. ~ Temple Grandin

All this sensory input, which begins in the brain, has its effect throughout the body. ~ Norman Cousins

Over the past twenty years I have been in education we have become much more attuned to the needs of our students who struggle with sensory integration.  Sensory Integration Disorder, in an over-simplified nutshell, is a neurological condition that causes individuals to struggle to integrate sensory signals.  Often these signals feel significantly more intense for those with SID.

SID manifests in many different ways among children.  Some children will only eat foods of a certain texture – the other textures offend their senses so greatly they can immediately trigger a gag reflex.  Some children find that any loud noises can cause them great discomfort – these children like quiet classrooms and teachers and struggle with more active, loud, classroom environments.  Students with SID can be miserable all day because a clothing tag is bothering them and they just cannot focus on anything else.

I have a cat with SID.  It has been really interesting to watch her.  She struggles with some food and she does not like to be held or touched, unless she initiates the touch.  She freezes in terrible discomfort when my children show her affection – my other two cats love it, she cannot wait for it to be over.

Sometimes, sadly, I think I am more sensitive to my cat’s SID than many educators are to our student’s SID.  It is critical that we reach out in empathy, compassion and understanding.  It is imperative that we work to create ways for students with SID to feel comfortable in our schools and classrooms.  I find that our students with SID can tolerate seemingly intolerable sensory situations when we stand by their side and support them step by step.

Today, 119 days ’til 40, I am thankful that our community embraces all of our students and works to meet their needs where they are at.




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22 responses to “119 Days ’til 40: Sensory Integration Issues

  1. knittingwithheart

    October 25, 2012 at 01:02

    truly … side-by-side + step-by-step = key

  2. thelastsongiheard

    October 25, 2012 at 04:47

    That’s interesting… I’ve never heard of SID before 🙂

    • 400daystil40

      October 25, 2012 at 22:26

      I am glad I could share something new with you. 🙂

  3. buckwheatsrisk

    October 25, 2012 at 05:26

    i struggle with loud noises because of PTSD…this is really good.

    • 400daystil40

      October 25, 2012 at 22:27

      Yes, there are many people with sensory sensitivities that are caused by other things….. but just as rough to cope with.

  4. secretschizoidspeaks

    October 25, 2012 at 10:05

    Touch is so important to humans and all mammals – for a child (let alone a cat!) to dislike it, avoid it, is really an intriguing question. It’s also a small personal tragedy, being so hypersensitive to sensual stimuli. What an interesting post. Thanks.

  5. nanayane

    October 25, 2012 at 14:14

    as I live with 2 autistic people (1 adult one child) I totally understand SID. eating problems, noise problems, tags, proximity , touch…it is quite an interesting experience to watch from the outside! Quite another to live in the middle of it every day…at times I fear the egg shells I’m always walking on will be much too loud for their ears!

    • 400daystil40

      October 25, 2012 at 22:46

      Wow, it must be difficult for you to live in those circumstances…..

  6. walkwiththerabbi

    October 25, 2012 at 16:48

    As stated prior (perhaps more than once), your students, your children, your partner, your employer and the community in which you live – are so very fortunate to have you – and I’m so blessed to call you friend!

    • 400daystil40

      October 25, 2012 at 22:46

      Thank you so much for your kind words!!! 🙂

  7. Another Thousand Words

    October 25, 2012 at 20:28

    Poor cat…she is very blessed to have an understanding companion, 400! And the poor children…this type of ‘suffering’ should not be their lot in life…I know, as I am extremely sensitive to loud, even mildly loud noises…even a yelling human being sets off a reaction in me which isn’t very pleasant. Perhaps this is the explanation why I prefer to work alone, in quiet?

  8. LauraLee

    October 26, 2012 at 00:27

    Most of my family, including myself, has varying degrees of sensory issues.

    Thank you for writing about this!

    • 400daystil40

      October 26, 2012 at 23:16

      You are so welcome! Yes, some in my family also struggle…

  9. Viveka

    October 26, 2012 at 20:09

    Never heard about SID neither – very interesting reading. Must be something like autisticim.

    • 400daystil40

      October 26, 2012 at 23:21

      I think it can be a co-morbid disorder with autism, but not always… I know of many people with SID who are well adjusted and do understand social cues….

  10. antarabesque

    October 26, 2012 at 20:42

    Love the quilt, btw.

    • 400daystil40

      October 26, 2012 at 23:21

      Thank you! I made it about five years ago – I love rag quilts – so quick and easy (I made each daughter one this past winter).


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