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The Frequently Overlooked Reason Some Kids Misbehave

A New Treatment Offers Hope for the Undiagnosable

Karen Smith • 2/20/2018

By Karen Smith - The delicate interaction between the brain and body known as sensory integration allows us to live without being driven to distraction by the cacophony of sensory experience that bombards us every day. But for some children, sensory integrative dysfunction impairs the ability to judge accurately whether the sensation is important or trivial, and therefore, how to respond logically and efficiently.

Daily Blog

Sensory Integration Therapy for Defiant Children

When Faulty Sensory Processing Affects Behavior

Karen Smith • 2/5/2015

In our culture, we don't take kindly to children who refuse to do what they are told. We label them with euphemisms, such as difficult, willful or spirited. When these kids show up in my office as early as age 3 or 4, their parents---often tearful, angry, guilt ridden---want quick advice about how to win the battles they are losing. Because we assume that these children are neurologically and physiologically capable of doing what we ask them to do, we may describe them as inattentive, hyperactive or clumsy and complain that they are stubborn, angry or oppositional. In fact, they are all of those things---but for a reason. That reason is faulty sensory processing.

Daily Blog

The Impossible Child

A New Treatment Offers Hope for the Undiagnosable

Karen Smith • 1/2/2009

In the fall of Evan's second year of preschool, Mr. Warren's view of my son's future took a turn. He began describing him as "disruptive," "aggressive" and, on one occasion, "violent." He hinted that his school might not be the right place for Evan and suggested that we get a "behavioral analysis" at the university psychology clinic. I was furious, and grateful, that he didn't seem to remember that I analyze behavior for a living.

Magazine Article
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The Frequently Overlooked Reason Some Kids Misbehave

A New Treatment Offers Hope for the Undiagnosable

Karen Smith • 2/20/2018

By Karen Smith - The delicate interaction between the brain and body known as sensory integration allows us to live without being driven to distraction by the cacophony of sensory experience that bombards us every day. But for some children, sensory integrative dysfunction impairs the ability to judge accurately whether the sensation is important or trivial, and therefore, how to respond logically and efficiently.

Daily Blog

Sensory Integration Therapy for Defiant Children

When Faulty Sensory Processing Affects Behavior

Karen Smith • 2/5/2015

In our culture, we don't take kindly to children who refuse to do what they are told. We label them with euphemisms, such as difficult, willful or spirited. When these kids show up in my office as early as age 3 or 4, their parents---often tearful, angry, guilt ridden---want quick advice about how to win the battles they are losing. Because we assume that these children are neurologically and physiologically capable of doing what we ask them to do, we may describe them as inattentive, hyperactive or clumsy and complain that they are stubborn, angry or oppositional. In fact, they are all of those things---but for a reason. That reason is faulty sensory processing.

Daily Blog
Page 1 of 1 (2 Items)

The Impossible Child

A New Treatment Offers Hope for the Undiagnosable

Karen Smith • 1/2/2009

In the fall of Evan's second year of preschool, Mr. Warren's view of my son's future took a turn. He began describing him as "disruptive," "aggressive" and, on one occasion, "violent." He hinted that his school might not be the right place for Evan and suggested that we get a "behavioral analysis" at the university psychology clinic. I was furious, and grateful, that he didn't seem to remember that I analyze behavior for a living.

Magazine Article
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Karen Smith, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist in private practice in Athens, Georgia. She is currently writing a book about the possible connections between disruptive behavior and sensory integrative dysfunction.