What a huge subject this, and in some ways, one of the most difficult to understand. It's easy to see when your child hold's their ears as you put the dishes away or the mere concept of finger painting leads them to biting their arm or they watch 5 seconds of a cartoon character falling down over and over till you forcibly remove/change the program. We see it, we sympathize with it, but how can we really know what that is like. Each of those malfunctioning sensory experiences is as unique as the child itself.
Our first step is to know that just because we don't why this is going on, it doesn't mean it isn't real and it isn't a big deal. This is not a case of "I don't want to eat my veggies cause they taste funny". This is "my body doesn't process this sensory stimuli properly and I will do whatever is in my power to avoid it or create a more powerful stimuli to override this sensation." Leaving these children to deal with it on their own is not an option. It's our responsibility as parents and caregivers to give them the tools to deal with these sensory issues.
Sometimes it's as easy as giving them noise canceling headphones in a grocery store. Sometimes it's years and years of slow, methodical, intentional, progressive steps to get them to take a bite of ice cream (we are still working on it and we will not give up :)
As we've mentioned before - having a professional therapist is great first step. It can help with your understanding and give you techniques for making progress at home. Find someone who "gets" your son or daughter. On occasion, we've moved on from a particular therapist because we didn't feel they really understood the issue and the treatment wasn't effective. That's okay.
Understand this though - if your plan is to drop your kid off at therapist so the "professionals" do all the work and then you just have to pick them up... your child's progress will be somewhere between slow to non-existent. Consistent, thoughtful, purposeful, use of techniques and strategies AT HOME will be the difference. It's not easy, but trust us when we say that when the child and parents overcome a roadblock - it is the greatest feeling in the world. There is nothing better than talking with another adult and saying "remember when he wouldn't...".
To help you on your sensor journey, please take a look at the following links. Note: you may want to check out our DIY page on this website as it lists some sensory helpful items you can buy or make.
Links to Information on Sensory Issues
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