Sensory Processing Disorder

In children and adults with sensory processing issues, which is sometimes called Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) or Sensory Integration Dysfunction (SID), the brain has difficulty making sense of the sensory information and deciding what to focus on and what to filter out and how to respond appropriately to the information. This response may be a motor action, such as adjusting your posture so you don’t fall down (clumsiness), or it may be a cognitive response, such as being able to concentrate on your spouse’s (or teacher’s) voice even though the kids are being noisy in the same room. People with sensory processing issues have to expend a lot of extra energy and thought power making sense of their sensory world and trying to formulate appropriate responses. Therefore they struggle with poor attention, low frustration tolerance, moodiness, anxiety, and sometimes depression. SPD is an umbrella term that encompasses several different types of disorders resulting from poor sensory integration.

Typical symptoms of Sensory Processing Disorder include the following:

  • infants who are really easy or really difficult: both extremes can indicate sensory issues
  • delayed development of motor skills and speech
  • picky eaters or cravings for a limited number of foods
  • touch avoidance or touches EVERYTHING always
  • doesn’t like feet off the ground, resists motion activities
  • seeks intense motion, often “crashes” onto floor or walls on purpose
  • walks on toes or with “heavy” footsteps
  • picky about clothing textures or chooses clothing based on how it “feels”
  • sensitive to odors in environment or doesn’t seem to notice smells at all
  • poor attention span
  • fussy, irritable, moody, anxious
  • easily overwhelmed in busy, noisy environments like birthday parties and Walmart
  • frequent melt downs that are out of proportion to the situation
  • hates hair washing, hair cuts, nail trimming, bathing
  • poor or delayed social skill development

These are just some of the more common symptoms of SPD. If you feel like you or your child may have some of these symptoms that are interfering with quality of life, consult with an occupational therapist or other professional trained in sensory integration. Also, by becoming a member of Sensational Brain you will have online access to sensory symptom checklists, a wealth of support and information, and our online sensory diet tool creator, BrainWorks, which will allow you to quickly and easily create a sensory diet to assist you or your child in modulating sensory input more effectively.

Click here for more information on membership.