The Basics of Sensory Processing Disorder

The Sensory Processing Disorder Foundation estimates that one in every 20 children is grappling with a variety of sensory symptoms that interfere with their daily functioning.

These children find that the world can be too loud, too busy and too full of tactile sensations that make them feel overwhelmed. For some children, the disorder may be mild and may be simply an annoyance, while for others, the effects can be extremely disruptive and can impact their quality of life.

Both Ends of the Spectrum

When it comes to Sensory Processing Disorder, no one is quite sure exactly what causes it to occur, but for many children, the condition prevents the body from being able to appropriately process and interpret sensory information correctly. Further, the effects of the misinterpretation of sensory information can occur in several ways. Generally, there are two distinct scenarios, although there are also lots of variations in between. To one extreme, children are so over-responsive to sensory stimulation they encounter on a regular basis, such as loud noises and bright lights, that their bodies shut down in reaction. Children whose Sensory Processing Disorder plays out this way often seem slow and even withdrawn. They may be very low energy and seem to have little stamina.

On the other hand, some children go the other way and crave the extra sensory sensations, finding that they can't get enough sound, activity and motion. They may always be on the go and have trouble remaining calm. Often, children who fall into this latter group may exhibit behavior that appears like ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), although the cause is completely different. This means that parents need to be well informed in order to be a good advocate for their children with Sensory Processing Disorder and prevent misdiagnosis.

Other Symptoms

In addition to some of the sensory symptoms of Sensory Processing Disorder, this condition can also impact a child's functioning on a number of other levels including motor skills and planning. In addition, some youngsters find themselves having trouble academically, as well as socially, because they may have difficulty sitting still, waiting in line and interacting with their peers.

What You Can Do

Children will Sensory Processing Disorder can benefit from specialized treatment with a therapist trained in working with children who're grappling with such challenges. Your pediatrician can help you to find the best resources in your community to help support your youngster's special needs.

Often a combination of occupational therapy and listening therapy can help children to better manage their bodies' reactions to stimulation. In addition, many children can benefit from the help of having a strategic balance of sensory activities incorporated into their daily routine.


Sensory Processing Disorder Foundation

The STAR Center