Heat Sensitivity and Processing Disorders Often Go Hand in Hand
Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), formerly known as sensory information dysfunction or SI, can cause a range of issues in daily life. When a child suffers from SPD, sensory information is not processed correctly. Information from the nervous system gets hung up along the way, causing a problem. Everyone can occasionally have trouble interpreting sensory information, but for children with SPD, it is a chronic and serious issue. Heat sensitivity and processing disorders often go hand in hand.
Why Is Summer Hard for Kids With SPD?
SPD has a lot to do with how the body responds to external stimulus. That means that a sensory processing disorder and temperature regulation might be in conflict. Add SPD and heat, and a child might overheat more quickly or take too long to start sweating. Physical discomfort translates almost immediately into emotional distress. To avoid dealing with a sensory meltdown, it is best to take proactive steps to help your child with temperature sensitivity.
Tips and Tricks to Help With Temperature Regulation
A child with SPD may not always choose the best clothing to deal with the heat. Some children will only wear long pants while others hate wearing clothing at all. When parents have a better idea of the clothing that a child will tolerate, they can shop with temperature in mind. For a child who will only wear long sleeves and pants, go for natural, breathable fabrics. It is best to wash clothing as soon as it comes home to soften it and get it ready to wear.
Monitor children with SPD to ensure they drink enough liquids. They may not respond to thirst as quickly as a child without the disorder. Track their fluid intake to ward off heat stroke or exhaustion. Also, keep track of the time they spend outside under the sun. Instituting regular shade breaks or taking some time inside can help keep them cool during the worst of the summer heat.
Signs to Look For
Once a child has developed a problem with the heat, it is too late for an intervention to do much immediate good. The best way to help a child cope is by watching for the signs of a problem. Look for:
- Flushed cheeks
- Rapid breathing
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Altered behavior
When any of these symptoms present themselves in hot weather, take immediate action to get the child cooled off and rehydrated.