Sensory Processing Disorder Explained

Our bodies take in information from the world around us through our sensory systems. As this information comes in, our brain filters and processes it for use. This process, called “sensory processing”, all happens automatically and simultaneously without us realizing that it.Depositphotos_37852017_sWhen all of these systems work correctly, we are able to perform our daily activities smoothly and without a problem. When these systems don’t work as well as they should a person may be disorganized, clumsy, have attention difficulties, and become over responsive or under responsive. Individuals with this issue might just have trouble functioning day to day as well as they should.

This is called Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD).

Sensory Processing Disorder can be seen in typically developing children and adults at an estimated rate of 15%. But individuals with autism and Aspergers are far more likely to be affected. It is estimated that 80% of children with ASD have sensory processing difficulties.

Some signs of SPD include:

  • Oversensitive to touch, sound, smell, lights and other visual input
  • Distractibility
  • Clumsiness
  • Decreased play skills
  • Resistance to being touched by others
  • Picky about clothing textures and tags
  • Toe walking and/or hand flapping
  • Picky eating

If you would like to learn more about SPD, visit the SPD Foundation website. If you know your child has sensory issues, you can also find a SIPT Certified Therapists in your area.  

Do you see some of these sign in your child?  How do you handle the difficulties that arise from them? 

By Gayla A. Aguilar, OTR, OTD

Sources

Ayres, A. J. (1972). Sensory integration and learning disorders.  Los Angeles: Western Psychological Services

Tomchek, S.D., Dunn, W. (2007). Sensory processing in children with and without autism: A comparative study using the Short Sensory Profile. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 61, 190-200

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