What’s in a Name?

I have been reading a lot of blogs about sensory integration (mostly written by parents) and in my own practice I have come across a number of parents who are saying that their child is being labelled as “the naughty child” in school. Now, I’m not a huge fan of labelling children but I am a huge fan of understanding them and the reason that they do certain things.

Many children with Sensory Processing (or Integration) Disorder (SPD) are hugely misunderstood by those around them and are therefore labelled as having behavioural issues. When you consider some of the signs and symptoms of SPD, it’s not surprising children are being labelled as “naughty”:

  • Over or under responsiveness to certain stimuli – may not seem to register when you call their name
  • Attention difficulties – In a classroom situation, poor attention = distractibility = disrupting the class
  • Struggles to sit still – may move around the class during lessons (I even had a child who would intentionally fall off their chair and roll around on the floor for 10 minutes at a time)
  • Often cannot grade movements – this may lead them to unwittingly hurt other children on the playground.
  • Implusive – children will feed their sensory systems in one way or another and this is often done in an impulsive way.

So, does that mean that all naughty children have SPD? No, but some children who have SPD may not be able to help being naughty. If their is a sensory basis to their behaviour and if teachers and those around them understood this, their needs would be better met and their behaviours would improve.

If you see your child in any of the signs and symptoms mentioned above, you may want to get in touch with your local Occupational Therapist and have a chat with them to see if there may just be something more to their “naughtiness”!

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2 Responses to “What’s in a Name?”


  1. 1 Good Fountain October 14, 2008 at 1:19 pm

    Thank you for writing a blog about SPD from an OT’s perspective. I think there are many parents who would appreciate the ideas you are going to offer.

    I will check back and once you get going, if you don’t mind, I’ll link to you on my blog.

    I have written recently about my daughter and her SPD and have said that sometimes what looks like her being “bad” is actually her just being overstimulated. There are times she just can’t help herself (like when we’re shopping and she starts running around the store).

  2. 2 goodmum October 17, 2008 at 3:09 am

    I’d like to second what Good Fountain has said. THank you for posting about this, from an OT’s perspective. 🙂


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