The Impact of Sensory Processing Difficulties on Overall Development - Essay Sample

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  5
Wordcount:  1275 Words
Date:  2022-11-29


The overall human development is critical since it involves the growth of children. However, learning development is facing various challenges such as sensory processing difficulties or disorder. The neural processing disorder is a difficulty caused by immature nervous system development and may also coincide with many other diagnoses (such as apraxia, Down's Syndrome, Learning Disability, among others). According to research, it suggests that sensory processing difficulties may occur independently or as part of other overarching diagnoses. For example, among children without any disability, the prevalence of sensory processing difficulties ranges between 10% to 50% while the range for the children with disabilities is estimated to range between 40% to 88% (Gourley et al., 2012). In sensory processing difficulties, the affected individual may have challenges in taking in and sorting and the meaning to information from within themselves. It is not conscious or intentional occurrence but an automatic process and therefore is some of the cases one may not be aware they have a sensory processing difficulty.

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Since sensation is the process of noticing, organization and later integrating information from the environment and responding appropriately, the children's ability to regulate sensation delivers a significant impact to self-regulation. According to Dunn (2007), the difficulties in controlling sensory information (such as smell, touch, taste, body movement, body position, and sound) could lead to patterns of hypersensitivity to sensory stimuli, hypo-sensitivity to sensory stimuli, sensory-seeking behaviors, or a mixed pattern of sensory seeking or sensory avoidance, and under-responsivity. However, in the evaluation concerning the impact sensory processing difficulties on the overall development of children, it is essential to consider the different issues with hypersensitivity to sensory stimuli, hypo-sensitivity, and sensory seeking. In the pattern of hypersensitivity, the involved child may intensely react or shy away to loud noises, being held, bright lights, among others. In hypo-sensitivity, it could push for needing higher levels of sensory input such as loud noise to register the sensation, a strong smell, a firm touch, among others. Correspondingly, the sensory-seeking behaviors could lead to repeatedly crashing toy or wall, or banging of things like toys (Gourley et al., 2012).

Caregiver-Child Relationship

Sensory processing difficulties in the children have a significant impact on overall development for example on the parent-child relationship which is essential in maintaining proper interaction and proper child development. A child experiencing sensory processing difficulties may respond to a caregiver or the environment in ways that are seeming with any valid reasons. For instance, children with low sensory stimuli may respond to touch from the caregiver in a manner that a typically developing child would not respond. Eventually, the caregiver may, in turn, be confused by the reaction and experience a decrease in their sense of competence about their parenting skills. For the longest time now, children have been known to show different demanding characteristics depending on their environment; however, in other cases, some cases show extreme demanding features which in one way or the additional increase stress in the relationship between the parent and the child. Thus, there are chances that issues involved with the sensory processing could deliver a potential impact to the relationship with a primary caregiver which on the other hand may impact the overall development of the child as a result of a conflict in learning (Schaaf et al., 2011).

Children Learning

Additionally, sensory processing difficulties impact how children learn and pay attention in school. In every learning setup, attention is relevant and fundamental since it facilitates the ability of the children to learn. Also, it ensures that children can acquire information, understand the data, respond to the information, and at some extents give feedback. However, a difficulty in paying attention could result in other issues especially dealing with the overall child development. Children with sensory processing difficulties have significant challenges in paying attention in school. According to the smart classroom research, there is a considerable involvement between the classroom environment and learning development (Broring et al., 2018).

On the other hand, in as much as the sensory processing difficulties impact the learning of children in schools, there are other impacts faced by the children not yet attending school. Since children with sensory processing challenges respond to specific sensory input inappropriately and may fail to organize a response fluently, the result may affect their ability to adapt appropriately to the situation occurring daily. Learning development is impacted whereby for the infants, they may have a problem with sleeping, eating, as well as playing. If under responsive, the infant may refuse to eat or sleep for more extended hours while overresponsive infants may reject a specific taste placed in their mouth. Similarly, in preschoolers, learning development is affected whereby they have over-sensitivity to touch (for example, one may cry when hair is touched) noises (for example may cover the ear when the doorbell rings) and smell (for example, feel sick at the smell of diesel). When it comes to school-aged children, they have various difficulties in paying attention, learning, as well as interacting with other children. The children may present poor motor coordination for more refined gross motor skill (such as playing skills) as well as other fine motor skills that could involve writing (Dunn, 2007).

Moreover, one of the significant impacts of sensory processing difficulties on overall development of revolves around the occurrence whereby, the teachers and the caregivers often have high expectations for both the achievement and behaviors of the children; however, it does not occur as per their expectations. Additionally, children with these difficulties such as the under-responsive child may have a high intellectual capacity or bright but may appear lazy as a result of a challenge to respond in a neurotypical manner. Equally, the overresponsive child may suffer misinterpretation when a particular stimulus prevents the expected behavior. Therefore, this occurrence results to difficulties when it comes to the overall development since in most of the cases the children end up being misunderstood or misinterpreted. in understanding the occurrence concerning sensory processing difficulties about learning development, there are various developmental milestones, especially concerning hearing and speech (Kong & Moreno, 2018).


As the sensory processing field is evolving, it is critical to consider the various interventions surrounding learning development. The children suffering from sensory processing disorder may often counter problems with skills and other capabilities needed for school success and other childhood accomplishments. As a result, most of the children suffer emotional, educational, and other social challenges that may include the inability to interact with others effectively. While the sensory processing issues are not a learning disorder, they impose a significant impact on the learning development of children. Since the learning development of children covers higher engagement of the sensory processing, it delivers a profound effect as one develops. Nonetheless, in as much as sensory processing difficulties may impact the overall development, it is imperative to ensure that in case it is visible in a child, the necessary actions and intervention as undertaken.


Broring, T., Konigs, M., Oostrom, K. J., Lafeber, H. N., Brugman, A., & Oosterlaan, J. (2018). Sensory processing difficulties in school-age children born very preterm: An exploratory study. Early human development, 117, 22-31.

Dunn, W. (2007). Supporting children to engage successfully in everyday life by using sensory processing knowledge. Infants & Young Children, 20(2), 84-101.

Gourley, L., Wind, C., Henninger, E. M., & Chinitz, S. (2012). Sensory Processing Difficulties, Behavioral Problems, and Parental Stress in a Clinical Population of Young Children. Journal of child and family studies, 22(7), 912-921.

Kong, M., & Moreno, M. A. (2018). Sensory Processing in Children. JAMA Pediatrics, 172(12), 1208-1208.

Schaaf, R. C., Toth-Cohen, S., Johnson, S. L., Outten, G., & Benevides, T. W. (2011). The everyday habits of families of children with autism: Exploring the impact of sensory processing difficulties on the family. Autism, 15(3), 373-389.

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