In a previous blog post, it was stated that Sensory Modulation Disorder can be divided into three subcategories, Sensory Over-Responsivity, Sensory Under-Responsivity, and Sensory Craving. In this, the final blog post regarding Sensory Processing Disorder, the topic of Sensory Craving will be discussed.
A child who is sensory craving, also sometimes referred to as sensory seeking, seems to require much more sensory input that most children, to the point that it almost seems insatiable. These children can be mistaken for having Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). The key difference between the two is when a child who is sensory craving “…receives more input it does not regulate him/her; in fact, those with true craving disorders become disorganized with additional stimulation.” (“Subtypes of SPD,” n.d.)
According to Carol S. Kranowitz, the author of The Out of Sync Child: Recognizing and Coping with Sensory Processing Disorder, some examples of sensory craving behaviors include:
Chewing on clothing or objects
Enjoying loud noises and crowds
Bumping into people and objects
Spinning in circles or constantly moving
Wanting bear hugs
Continually touching items
Seeking visually stimulating screens, strobe lights, or sunlight
Licking or tasting inedible objects
Repeatedly attempting to engage in rough play, such as wrestling*
As Ms. Kranowitz states as she discusses a child who is sensory craving, “…most people do not understand his behavior. And, of course, the child is incapable of explaining his cravings, so everyone around him gets upset and tells him he is being bad.” The important point to keep in mind is that this child is not trying to be difficult or challenging; instead, he is trying to satisfy a sensory need that his body seems to be demanding of him.
*It should be noted, these behaviors may also be seen in “typically developing” children. It is not at all uncommon for an infant to mouth objects or for a toddler to touch items. The difference relates to the age of the child, the intensity of the behaviors, and the effects of the behaviors on the child.
Kranowitz, Carol S. (2005). The Out-of-Sync Child- Recognizing and Coping with Sensory Processing Disorder.
New York, New York: Penguin.
Subtypes of SPD. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.spdstar.org/basic/subtypes-of-spd.