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Is it Behavior or Is it Sensory?

Working on preparing the slides for my “Behavior Management” Presentation for the April 19-20, 2012 NJSHA Convention, got me thinking: “What if it’s not always the behavior?”

As a speech language pathologist working in  psychiatric setting I see children act out all the time displaying a number of maladaptive behaviors ranging from aggression and avoidance to withdrawal and elopement.  However, working with this population have taught me over the years not to jump to the obvious conclusions  but to dig a little deeper.

One question I often find myself asking these days is: “Is it behavior or is it sensory?”

Many times after doing a bit of detective work,  the answer does surprise me.

For those parents and professionals who are currently dealing with a first time onslaught of difficult behaviors and are not so certain how to recognize which one is which,  I recommend the following screening  instrument:

The Listening Inventory (2005) Academic Therapy Publications developed by Donna Geffner, PhD and Deborah Ross-Swain, EdD

TLI is a Screening Questionnaire for parents and teachers
Its administration time is about 15 minutes
What it does is rates the following 6 areas:
Linguistic organization
Decoding/language mechanics
Auditory processes
What it can show is: what’s perceived as social behavioral issues may actually be the result of sensory/motor difficulties.
 If so, then it is not just the behaviors that you are dealing with, and you may need to get some advice from your friendly OT on how to best deal with these issues.
For starters visit the Sensory Processing Disorder Resource Center to learn more information regarding Sensory Processing Difficulties in children


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