|What's happening in the nervous system||Nervous system inhibits sensory message, resulting in low or no arousal. Sensory input registers too little or not at all.||Nervous system registers and modulates incoming sensory messages well.||Nervous system facilitates sensory input message, resulting in inappropriately high arousal. Sensory input registers "too loud."|
|Outward behavior||Child tends to be passive, doesn't react quickly to stimuli. Child tends to have low muscle tone, a flat affect (not animated), and prefer sedentary activities.||Interacts age-appropriately with people and objects.||Child tends to be on guard to protect against noxious sensory stimuli. She may exhibit fight-or-flight behaviors (acting out) due to perceived threats to her safety.|
|How a child may compensate (Behavioral compensations can be really confusing: that's why you need to do your detective work with an OT to figure out what's really going on.)||Sometimes, an underaroused child may rev up his engine and be very active to keep his nervous system primed. So, paradoxically, a hyposensitive child can "look" like a hypersensitive child.||Child may occasionally be over- or understimulated, especially when tired or hungry, but is usually able to tolerate a wide variety of sensory experiences without unusual reactions.||Child may try to block out overwhelming sensory input by shutting down and tuning out. An overreactive child can look like a withdrawn, inactive child.|
From Raising a Sensory Smart Child by Lindsey Biel, M.A., OTR/L and Nancy Peske. Copyright © 2005. Used by arrangement with Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
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