Sensory Processing Disorder Parent Support
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Tics & Sensory Processing Disorder 

Children with sensory differences ... painting the world beautiful.  

Tics & Sensory Processing Disorder 

Jeanette Loftus 

mother and child who has tics and sensory processing disorder Tics & Sensory Processing Disorder
Tics can sometimes be common with children who have sensory processing disorder . These involuntary movements or sounds can be disruptive and sometimes difficult to control for both the child and those around them.

Always talk to your doctor right away if you are concerned that your child may be experiencing tics.
Tics are sudden repetitive movements or sounds that are difficult to control. They can be temporary or chronic and are often classified as motor or vocal tics.

Motor tics involve movements such as eye blinking, shrugging, or facial grimacing, while vocal tics involve sounds such as throat clearing, sniffing, or grunting. Tics can range from mild and barely noticeable to severe and disruptive.
There are two types of tics that children with sensory differences may experience - transient tics and chronic tics. Transient tics are temporary and typically last for less than a year. They are more common in younger children and tend to disappear on their own. On the other hand, chronic tics are persistent and can last for more than a year. They are less common and can be more challenging to manage.

Some common tics in children with sensory difficulties include eye blinking, facial grimacing, throat clearing, and sniffing. These tics can vary in frequency and intensity, and may also change over time. A child may have frequent bouts of eye blinking one day, and then throat clearing the next. These tics can also be triggered by certain stimuli, such as loud noises, bright lights, or certain textures.

Tics can also be a way for children to cope with the overwhelming sensory input they experience. Children with sensory processing disorder may use tics as a way to release tension and regulate their sensory system. This is why tics are often more frequent in situations where a child is overstimulated or overwhelmed.

There are also strategies that parents can implement at home to help a child with sensory challenges manage their tics. These include creating a calm and predictable environment, providing sensory input through activities like deep pressure or fidget toys, and encouraging relaxation techniques such as deep breathing or mindfulness.

It is important to educate those around the child about tics and sensory differences. This can help reduce any misunderstanding or judgment towards the child's behavior and create a supportive and understanding environment. It is very important to remember that tics are involuntary and not something a child can control.

Vocal tics: throat clearing, barking, sniffing, belching, coughing, hiccuping, yelling, coughing, making unusual sounds such as hissing, clicking teeth, animal sounds

Motor tics: blinking, kicking, arms flailing, head jerking, shoulder shrugging, tongue thrusting, jerking any part of the body, banging on a table, nose twitching

And here are some of the complex tics

Vocal tics: repeating words or sentences, changing the pronunciation of words or tones of voice over and over, talking to oneself, cursing

Motor tics: flapping arms, grimacing, kissing, poking or pinching, shaking feet, jumping, adjusting clothing, gesturing with hands

This list is incomplete because even the experts can’t be sure what is truly a tic and what isn’t. What may be for one person may not be for another.

Please see a professional if you are concerned about your child having tics.  
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DISCLAIMER: I am not an Occupational Therapist. I am an adult who has Sensory Processing Disorder, a sensory parent and a Grandma. The information on this website is not medical advice and does not replace the information that your child's therapists gives you. These are just ideas and information that I have learned myself over the years of being a parent and an adult living with SPD. If you are concerned for your child, please always seek medical attention through a family doctor, pediatrician or therapist. This website is for suggestions and informational purposes only. Each child is different and what works for one child may not for another because all children have different needs. Please always consult with a professional. Amazon offers a small commission on products sold through their affiliate links on my website.  Each of your purchases through links on my website for Amazon affiliation links or sponsored links support me but no additional cost to you so thank you. I appreciate it so much!