Category Archives: Sensory Processing Disorder

Being Afraid – Kid Friendly Explanations

K_being_afraid1Being Afraid

Have you ever been afraid? Everyone gets scared sometimes. Maybe thunderstorms make your heart beat faster. Or maybe your mouth goes dry when your teacher announces a pop quiz, or your palms sweat when it’s your turn to give your report in front of the class. Perhaps you get butterflies in your stomach when you see the bully who picks on you.

Everyday Worries

We all have fears from time to time. That’s true no matter how big we are or brave we can be. Fear can even be good for you sometimes and even help you stay healthy. Fear of getting too close to a campfire may save you from a bad burn. And fear of getting a bad grade on a test might make you study more.

Being a bit on edge also can sharpen your senses and help you perform better in a recital or during a track meet. Some people even enjoy being a little scared. That’s why they like to watch scary movies or go on roller-coaster rides.

What Happens When You’re Scared?

Have you ever wondered why being scared makes your heart beat faster and makes you breathe quicker? The body’s reaction to fear is called the “fight or flight” response. And people have had it since the beginning of time.

Here’s how it works. Imagine you’re a caveman or cavewoman living 100,000 years ago — and you come face to face with a hungry saber-toothed tiger. You have two choices: 1) Run for it (that’s flight), or 2) pick up your club and battle the tiger (that’s fight). A final choice (be eaten) doesn’t seem like such a good one!

Today, you can apply fight or flight to that bully who confronts you and won’t listen to reason. You have two choices: 1) Turn and walk away (flight), or 2) fight, even though you know fighting won’t solve the problem.

To prepare for fight or flight, you body does a number of things automatically so it’s ready for quick action or a quick escape. Your heart rate increases to pump more blood to your muscles and brain. Your lungs take in air faster to supply your body with oxygen. The pupils in your eyes get larger to see better. And your digestive and urinary systems slow down for the moment so you can concentrate on more important things.

What Is Anxiety?

Usually, our bodies go into fight or flight only when there is something to fear. However, sometimes this occurs when there doesn’t seem to be anything to be frightened about. When you feel scared but there doesn’t seem to be a clear reason, that’s called anxiety (say: angZYEuh-tee).

Other feelings might come along with anxiety — like a feeling of tightness in your chest, a bellyache, dizziness, or a sense that something horrible is going to happen. These feelings can be very frightening. Sometimes anxiety can interfere with things you need to do, like learning and sleeping.

For some kids, feelings of anxiety or worry can happen anytime. For others, they might occur only at certain times, like when they’re leaving their home or family to go somewhere. In some people, this feeling of anxiety occurs almost all the time and gets in the way of doing what they want to do.

Some kids may have a phobia (say: FOE-bee-uh), which is an intense fear of something specific, such as being up high, getting dirty, the number 13, or spiders.

Why Do People Have Anxiety?

Anxiety can run in families. Or a person might develop anxiety after something terrible happens, like a car crash. Sometimes certain medical illnesses can cause feelings of anxiety. So can abusing alcohol or other drugs, like cocaine.

Another part of the explanation has to do with the different chemicals in the nerve cells of the brain. How the chemicals in our brain’s nerve cells are balanced can affect how we feel and act. One of these chemicals is serotonin (say: sir-uh-TOE-nun). Serotonin is one of the brain chemicals that helps send information from one brain nerve cell to another. But for some people with anxiety, this brain chemical system doesn’t always seem to work the way it should.

Also, some scientists think that a special area in the brain controls the fight or flight response. With anxiety, it’s like having the fight or flight response stuck in the ON position — even when there is no real danger. That makes it hard to focus on everyday things.

Dealing With Anxiety

Anxiety can be treated successfully. Tell your mom or dad if find yourself more scared than you feel you should be or if your anxiety becomes strong and is getting in the way of what you want or need to do.

Your parents might take you to a doctor, who can help find out if a medical problem is making you feel anxious, or to a therapist, who can help find a way to lessen the anxiety through talking, activities, relaxation exercises, or medication (or a combination of these things).

Of course, if you do come face to face with a hungry saber-toothed tiger, there’s just one thing you should do . . . RUN!

Taken from

Reviewed by: D’Arcy Lyness, PhD
Date reviewed: March 2014

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Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) Fact Sheet


• Our everyday activities require something called sensory integration, which refers to the way the nervous system receives messages from the senses and turns them into appropriate motor and behavioral responses. Whether you are biting into a hamburger, riding a bicycle, or reading a book, your successful completion of the activity requires processing sensation or “sensory integration.” SPD is a condition that exists when sensory signals don’t get organized into appropriate responses.
• SPD can sometimes look like AD/HD and is often misdiagnosed as AD/HD.
• SPD can affect just one sense, like touch, or multiple senses.
• SPD can cause hypersensitivity or hyposensitivity. For example, Tommy who is hypersensitive to touch often lashes out at children who get too close. He also may have a lower tolerance for pain, so when someone hits him his response seems out of proportion; however, the pain he experiences is legitimate. On the other hand, Sally who is hyposensitive to touch feels the need to always be close to people. She can seem very affectionate, but really just needs to touch your face or caress your hair because her body is telling her to do so. She also has a high tolerance for pain. She can sometimes lash out if she isn’t receiving enough tactile input, which is why she cried yesterday when Tommy wouldn’t hold her hand or threw herself in the floor because she needed to feel more pressure.
• Children with SPD are often clumsy, uncoordinated, and have poor balance and motor skills. This is because their body is not sending the appropriate signals to their brains.
• Children with SPD sometimes chew on things or appear to have “tics.”
• Children with SPD are often picked on because they can be withdrawn (due to hypersensitivity like Tommy), or because they are too “in your face” (due to hyposensitivity like Sally).

Age-Appropriate Chores for Children


I have had quite a few parents come to the staff here at NPC with concerns regarding chores. Some parents wonder if their child is too young to do chores, some wonder if they are too old. Here, I have posted a chart from that gives tons of good chores for each age group. Enjoy!

Link to original document:

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Helping Children Learn to Regulate Their Emotions

feelings-and-emotions-worksheet1I am seeing more and more kids who have difficulty regulating their emotions so I have been on the hunt for ways to help children and parents master emotional expression. This is an amazing article I found online. I emailed this article to all my iLs parents when I found it because it is such a useful tool in helping children use self-control when they feel the need to have an emotional outburst. Take a look for yourself! Here is the link for the PDF (opens in new tab):

 Helping Children Learn to Regulate Their Emotions

Introducing Dreampad

Introducing Dreampad

The Dreampad™ delivers music through gentle, calming vibration which only you can hear. The process brings about a relaxation response from the body and mind which has been aptly described as a “massage to the nervous system.”

*Reduce stress
*Improve sleep – falling asleep and staying asleep
*Decrease sensory hypersensitivity

Click the image above to learn more!

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