Sensory processing disorder (SPD) is a neurological condition that affects how the brain processes sensory information (stimuli)
Stimuli influence what you see, hear, smell, taste, or touch. It is unclear what causes sensory processing disorders, but they tend to run in families, so genetics may be a contributing factor.
The condition is an abnormal sensitivity that can impact on the ability to interact in different environments and perform daily activities. It can affect all the senses, or just one.
SPD triggers difficulty in organising and responding to information that comes through the senses. Children may be oversensitive to sensory input, under sensitive – or both. It is possible for a child to outgrow this disorder.
- clothing feeling too scratchy,
- lights seeming too bright,
- sounds seeming too loud,
- soft touches feeling too hard,
- food textures creating a gag reaction,
- poor balance, or seeming clumsy,
- afraid to play on swings.
To help a child with sensory processing disorder, establish what senses he/she is looking to stimulate and instead of punishing him/her for engaging in misplaced behaviour, redirect him/her to another activity that stimulates that sense in a similar way. Explain your reasoning.
Five of the eight sensory systems have already been addressed. The remaining three – yes, there are eight – are:
- vestibular – sense of balance
- proprioception – awareness of the position and movement of the body
- interoception – sense of the internal state of the body
With parental help, factors that go into a child’s ability to improve and manage SPD and the impact it has on his/her life include a safe and supportive home life, proper nutrition, adequate sleep, early identification, and appropriate intervention. The Capulum College team is professionally trained to guide parents and children through the proces