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What is sensory seeking? Know signs and symptoms of sensory issues in children

Explore the phenomenon of sensory seeking in children, including its signs and symptoms. Learn how to identify potential sensory processing issues and access resources for support.

Rahul Pratyush Written By: Rahul Pratyush New Delhi Published on: February 15, 2024 13:13 IST
sensory seeking
Image Source : GOOGLE Know signs and symptoms of sensory seeking

Have you ever noticed your child reacting intensely to certain sights, sounds, or textures? Do they seem to crave extra stimulation, constantly seeking out movement or intense experiences? These could be signs of sensory seeking, a common characteristic of sensory processing issues.

What is sensory seeking:

Sensory seeking describes a strong desire for intense sensory input. People with this tendency crave stimulation due to an underresponsiveness to their senses. Their brain doesn't register everyday sensory information to the same degree as others, prompting them to actively seek out stronger sensations.

Sensory Seeking vs. Sensory Avoiding

There are two main ways sensory processing issues can manifest:

Sensory seeking: Children crave more sensory input and may seem constantly on the go. They might enjoy rough play, seek out loud sounds, or chew on objects.

Sensory avoiding: Children are hypersensitive to certain sensory inputs and may become overwhelmed or upset by them. They might avoid bright lights, loud noises, or certain textures.

Signs of sensory seeking in children:

  • Touch: Constantly touching people or objects, seeking rough textures, chewing on non-food items.
  • Movement: Difficulty sitting still, jumping, climbing, spinning excessively, seeking out high-impact activities.
  • Sound: Craving loud noises, enjoying repetitive sounds, talking loudly.
  • Sight: Preferring bright lights, enjoying staring at moving objects, fixating on specific visuals.
  • Taste: Seeking out strong flavours, enjoying spicy or sour foods, chewing on non-food objects.
  • Smell: Liking strong smells, constantly sniffing objects, seeking out specific scents.

Symptoms to watch out for:

  • Difficulty focusing in school due to constant movement or seeking stimulation.
  • Social challenges due to overly physical interactions or loud behaviour.
  • Anxiety or frustration when unable to meet their sensory needs.
  • Injuries due to excessive roughhousing or risky behaviours.

Importance of early identification:

While sensory seeking can seem like harmless behaviour, it can disrupt daily life and social interactions if left unaddressed. Early identification and support are crucial for helping children manage their sensory needs and develop healthy coping mechanisms.

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