While many children love getting their hands dirty in play, some will want nothing to do with particular textures both with their hands and their mouths (think feeding issues). Occupational therapists do a fantastic job at screening and evaluating for these sensory based offsets but sometimes such issues can be easy to miss in your busy day to day routine. Below is a quick list of commonly observed sensory based behaviors that may need to be examined further. And yes, you should always specifically consult an OT when suspecting challenges in sensory processing or integration.
- Child refuses to explore a variety of textures in play (play doh, water, paint, sand, rice, and so on) even with repeated exposure
- Child is particularly fussy and anxious during bath time (e.g. severe tantrums when in contact with water)
- Child refuses use of lotion on his/her skin
- Child refuses any sort of brushing (teeth, hair)
- Child is particular about wearing certain clothes (e.g. must be without tags) and/or shoe wear
- Child is a picky eater and it's no longer just a phase (e.g. won't accept mixed textures such as fruit in yogurt/ cereal in milk)
- Child avoids caregiver's touch and prefers to be left alone or maybe dislikes certain kinds of touch/ pressure on the body