Sensory Processing Disorder or SPD, is when the “brain has trouble receiving and responding to information that comes in through our senses” (Web MD). This is usually identified in children but can also be seen in adults. According to Matlen, “SPD is a neurological condition that does not allow for normal processing of stimuli.” Oversensitivity to things in the environment such as loud noises, ticking clocks, strong fragrances, tags on a shirt, etc, can be painful or overwhelming. It can affect one sense or multiple senses. You can either be hypersensitive or hypo-sensitive to sensory stimuli. If symptoms interfere with your daily life or affect normal functioning you may have SPD.
Sensory issues are usually present in those diagnosed with ADHD, autism spectrum disorder, motor delays, or anxiety disorders. Children with SPD, can be severely affected by sensory preferences that it interferes with their engagement in activities. Some children may exhibit over sensitivity to some stimuli while some may exhibit under sensitivity to other stimuli. For example, a child may scream at a sound of someone tapping their pen, while the same child may not respond to the sound of thunder. A change in routine or the wrong shoes can ruin a day. Certain smells or food textures can cause a gag response to kids with SPD. Some symptoms of hyper and hypo-sensitivities to stimuli are found below:
Hypersensitivities may include:
Hyposensitivities may include:
How do you manage with the above symptoms? Begin by recognizing and identifying sense triggers and find ways to limit them. In other words, make a plan. Find an occupational therapists to help with hypersensitivities in children. You can also visit spdfoundation.net where you can read more about SPD and search providers who work with children and adults. Below are some ways to manage some of the sensitivities that you may have:
How do you manage some sensitivities that you may have?
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Last reviewed: 7 Aug 2014