Children's Hyperinsulinism Charity

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Psychological and Sensory

Psychological Impact

Children living with medical conditions often have numerous, complex, and simultaneous factors which impact on their presentation. To help identify and address these, it is helpful to look at the Biological, Social and Psychological factors which may be contributing to a child’s experiences. Some examples are below:


  • Medical diagnosis
  • Treatment – surgery, medication, side effects
  • Possible cognitive impairment
  • Current health Age and developmental stage


  • Family relationships
  • Friendships
  • Family Social Support
  • Parental mental health
  • Culture
  • School


  • Beliefs about illness
  • Adjustment to diagnosis and care
  • Illness journey so far
  • Understanding medical needs
  • Coping with treatments – day to day and acute
  • Mood Anxiety (including procedural anxiety)
  • Body image
  • Self esteem
  • Identity in context of illness
  • Managing uncertainty
  • Making decisions about treatments.

Talking about Feelings

Children may require different support at different ages to talk about their feelings, such as:

  • Emotions – words that they can choose from to name their feelings.
  • Prompts such as pictures of facial expressions showing different emotions.
  • Creative and non-verbal ways to share their feelings such as play and drawing.
  • Use of metaphors, for example: – Rucksacks (having lots of feelings can be like having a big heavy backpack full of books that you have to carry round all day. Giving out some of the books (i.e. talking about feelings) lightens the load and makes it easier to get on with things you enjoy)
  • Noticing ‘meta’ feelings for teenagers e.g. are they feeling annoyed that they feel worried? Or cross that they feel sad?

If you have significant concerns about a child’s emotional wellbeing, consider making a referral to local CAMHS.

CHI It's ok to feel your feelings
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Sensory Processing Disorder

Sensory Processing Disorder from CHI
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Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) is a neurological condition that affects the processing of sensory information by the brain. Individuals with SPD may display heightened sensitivity or diminished response to sensory stimuli. The primary senses affected include touch, hearing, taste, smell, and sight.

Sensory Hypersensitivity

Children who are easily stimulated may experience hypersensitivity, which means they are more sensitive to sensory inputs like light, sound, and touch. This heightened sensitivity might become distracting and overwhelming to them.

Sensory hypersensitivity may cause the following:

  • A low pain threshold
  • Fleeing without regard to safety
  • Covering eyes or ears frequently
  • Picky food preferences or gagging when eating foods of certain textures.
  • Resisting hugs or sudden touches
  • Feeling that soft touches are too hard.
  • Difficulty controlling their emotions.
  • Difficulty focusing attention.
  • Difficulty adapting responses.

Sensory Hyposensitivity

Children who are hyposensitive are less sensitive to sensory inputs and are therefore like to need more interaction with their environment, to enable them to get the necessary sensory feedback.

Sensory hyposensitivity may cause the following:

  • A high pain threshold
  • Bumping into walls
  • Touching things
  • Putting things into their mouth
  • Giving bear hugs
  • Crashing into other people or things
  • Finding it hard to judge personal space
  • Rocking and swaying

Children with Sensory Processing Disorder may have difficulties with:

  • Proprioception is the body’s ability to sense its location, movements, and actions.
  • Vestibular our sense of movement and balance.
  • Interoception is an internal sensory system in which the physical and emotional states of the person are consciously or unconsciously noticed, recognised, and responded to e.g hunger, if you feel hot or cold and whether you feel your emotions.


For Further Information

For medical Professionals