Dealing with the Nervousness When Your Child has Sensory Processing Difficulties

            Raising children can be hair-raising. There is so much trouble kids can get into! We all know what it means to worry about our children. It is the blessing and the curse.

            Parents of children with behavioral, developmental or sensory processing difficulties have so much more than the average amount of worry. It can be difficult to manage.

             By the time the child has received a diagnosis, the parents might have spent much of that child’s life unsure, concerned, watchfully wondering and comparing. A diagnosis gives parents an explanation, which can be helpful, and an action direction, which can be empowering. And, it also creates a whole host of new and additional worries about treatment, like getting it done and paid, and concern about whether it is right or enough. It’s active, but not relaxing. It can be too much and parents can fret.

            Parents worry about how their children are doing when they are separated. A child with difficulties does not quickly and simply fit into the world of other children. For this child, other caretakers must be especially skilled. A parent can feel concerned that the child could be misunderstood or mismanaged, so separation is harder than ordinary. These parents need and want and deserve a break, yet worry while away what is happening to the child. It can be exhausting.

            Managing all these parent worries is a challenge.

            Our children might be nervous too. A child with difficulties might live in a world of sensory overload or misinformation. We all know the feeling of being in a place that is too noisy: it’s stressful. That could be the child’s usual world. Or a child whose sensory information is too quiet or slow can feel out of contact. We all know the feeling of missing a signal and feeling behind or confused, like when a subway conductor’s message is garbled; it can be scary or disorienting. Our child might always feel a bit scared or out of sync. So, the child might be extra stressed, more than most children, and cannot explain it. Stressed children often speak with behavior, not words.

            We parents are in close emotional touch with our children. If they worry, we feel it and we worry, even if we don’t quite know why. It can be confusing for us parents.

            Sorting out all that worry is for the parents, because we are the best able to talk and make sense. It’s worth doing because once a we get it we can begin to help the child understand and address the source of the worry.

             But it is arduous to wade through all the stress. Most parents of special needs children need help themselves sorting all that out. They need a place to really express and validate their own worries first, and then they can begin to understand what has their children feeling unsettled.


The heart of my practice is helping parents understand their worries, their children’s worries and help parents gain a handle on them, to feel level again and be better equipped to help their child. I help parents sort out these challenging feelings so they can begin to feel closer to their own child. Please contact me at 917-583-9358 or to learn more or discuss whether working together is right for you.