October is Sensory Awareness Month and this is something that I feel strongly about promoting as I had little awareness of what this meant until our two ASD children were diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder in 2012.
The way that your body responds to the different senses has a huge impact on how you cope with life and can interfere with how a child learns at school, how they communicate, eating and sleep habits to name but a few things.
When you see a child having a tantrum, it may not be because they are being naughty. Instead they could be reacting to the crowds of people and the noise they are making, they may not like the bright lights or visually distracting displays or people could be too close to their personal space and it is causing them discomfort.
I was stopped on a daily basis by complete strangers when our youngest son was a toddler and asked why he was screaming the place down. At the time I didn't know he had Autism and had never heard of Sensory Processing Disorder. All these people did was make me think I had a child who was prone to temper tantrums and I was doing something wrong as I could not stop him from screaming. Instead he was suffering with internal turmoil, as he couldn't communicate his needs to me and he was either having a hyper or hypo sensitive reaction to his senses and needed help so that he could cope with the situation.
I never assume now when a child is in the midst of a temper tantrum that it is due to bad behaviour. They could also be trying to express the pain they are feeling like our two ASD children. Fortunately through an Occupational Therapy assessment and lots of personal research, I have found ways to help our children. It has been a long journey and sometimes they still go into sensory overload, but we have come such a long way from when I was stopped everyday about my son's behaviour.