Sensory Processing Disorder – What you need to know

Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) is a disorder where the brain has issues with processing and responding to environmental sensory stimulus. It is also known as Sensory Integration Dysfunction (SID). Sensory Processing Disorder is not yet an officially recognized condition with a defined medical diagnosis.

SPD has a wide range of symptoms, which vary in severity. Sensory processing issues can be found quite commonly in developmental conditions such as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). As mentioned, SPD is not recognized by the medical community as a standalone condition, however, many experts believe this should be changed.

Noticing the effects of SPD in your child’s development may be a challenge. SPD may affect just one sensory perception, such as hearing, or all of the senses in very extreme cases. The symptoms and signs of the disorder are as subtle as those attributed to ADHD and can often go unnoticed. Here are ten symptoms and signs of SPD that you will need to look out for in your child’s behavior. (5)

10 Signs and Symptoms of Sensory Processing Disorder

#1 Extreme sensitivity to environmental conditions such as heat and cold.

#2 Sensitivity to sound, with some noises causing extreme pain and discomfort.

#3 Sensitivity to touch or clothing, resulting in chaffing or irritation of the skin.

#4 Sensitivity to bright light, resulting in headaches or migraines.

#5 Sensitivity to taste, your child may avoid certain foods with textures that have an uncomfortable mouthfeel.

#6 Over-experiencing pain. In some cases of SPD, children are hypersensitive to any pain, with a small cut feeling like a severe injury, sending them into a panic.

#7 Rising level of anxiety. As the child develops, the condition may worsen, elevating levels of stress and anxiety in children as they struggle to deal with the additional sensory load.

#8 A lack of coordination. Kids with SPD may find navigating their environment challenging as they struggle to process visual and auditory information. Children with SPD may frequently bump into furniture or other such objects.

#9 Communication issues. Kids with SPD may have difficulty in holding a conversation or playing with others due to an inability to focus and process social interactions.

#10 Lack of spatial awareness. Children living with SPD often find it hard to judge where their limbs are in space. This lack of awareness leads to further bio-kinetic and coordination problems as they age.

Moving Forward with SPD in Your Child’s Life

Being that SPD is not recognized officially as a neurodevelopmental disorder, you may find it challenging to find help from a doctor. However, some occupational therapists commonly assess, diagnose, and treat kids with sensory processing issues.

Sensory integration is the name given to the specialist treatment for SPD. The treatment is specific to each case of SPD and is designed to help children handle and deal with problems that they cannot tolerate. The therapy gives children the opportunity to improve at activities in which they would typically feel challenged.

If you think that your child has SPD, don’t be afraid to explore the different treatment options available for you. A holistic approach that focuses on proper nutrition and natural healing has been shown to be effective in managing SPD. (6)

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