Let’s Talk Sensory Issues over Coffee

It can be difficult to identify sensory issues from transitional, behavioral or emotional problems. The Clonlara School in Ann Arbor hosts a free discussion, January 9, that is open to the public to address parental concerns regarding their child’s behavior. The Clonlara School, a fully-accredited non-profit  home-based program serving students K-12, also has a campus program, open since 1979. Both programs nurture and assist children who have difficulties fitting into a traditional classroom environment.

The informative program will discuss the sensory system and its effects on child development and classroom performance. Besides the commonly known senses of taste, smell, hearing, touch and sight, the sensory system consists of seven categories – proprioceptive, tactile, vestibular, visual, auditory, gustatory and olfactory. Children who exhibit clumsiness, tantrums, and immaturity could be struggling with sensory processing issues in one of these areas.

“The main reason we hold this community event is that it connects knowledgeable experts with parents in need of support. It also serves as a professional development opportunity for our staff.  It is our hope that the informative and interactive gathering will address the specific needs and concerns of parents and their children,” says Martha Rhodes, campus director.

Parents of children with sensory issues may notice their child has an aversion to light and noise or complain that their clothing or shoes feel too tight or irritating. Often parents may witness their child being focused in a quiet setting and quickly shift to an extreme tantrum if too many visual or auditory stimuli are present. Many children with sensory issues are labeled “picky”, “overly sensitive” or “stubborn”. For parents, it is troubling to be perceived as “coddling” or ineffective at controlling the behavior of their children.

The goal of the program is to assist parents in identifying whether their child’s behavior stems from emotional issues or if other factors need to be addressed. Parents will learn how the body receives sensory information from the environment and how it organizes and utilizes that data. Parents will also have an opportunity to meet others who are dealing with similar issues—and enjoy a little bonding over coffee.

The Coffee Talk will be held on January 9, 9:15-10:30am. The Clonlara School, 1289 Jewett St., Ann Arbor. Call 734-926-4617 for additional information or visit www.clonlara.org. The event is sponsored by Clonlara School Leaps and Bounds Therapy Services.