Tip Sheet Tuesday: Understanding Sensory Processing Disorder

Have you ever been standing on a sidewalk talking when suddenly a fire truck is racing down the street with the lights and sirens on and the horn beeping? As an adult, the sound is distracting and often causes you to stop your conversation. But for a child who may be ultra sensitive to lights and sound, a fire truck might be extremely confusing. This is just one of many examples of what a child with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) may experience every day.

Picture1What is Sensory Processing Disorder?
Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) refers to difficulty in organizing and using sensory information in the brain, which can cause a person to have problems interacting effectively in everyday situations. It can also cause difficulty in a child’s movement, emotions, attention, and other responses.

Children with SPD can’t rely on their senses to give them an accurate picture of what is happening around them and don’t know how to behave in response. They may encounter some difficulty learning and behaving appropriately. SPD may affect all five senses— touch, smell, sight, hearing, and taste. Sensory Processing Disorder is an umbrella term used that describes many specific sensory disorders. For more information about specific diagnoses, go to: spdfoundation.net

Hypersensitivity vs. Hyposensitivity
A child with Sensory Processing Disorder can be either hypersensitive or hyposensitive.

Hypersensitivity occurs when a child is oversensitive to certain types of sensory input, while hyposensitivity is when a child is under-sensitive to certain types of sensory input. Children who are hypersensitive will often avoid the sensation all together because it’s overwhelming, while a hyposensitive child might seek it out because it’s soothing.

Children may be hypersensitive to some sensations and hyposensitive to other sensations, and they can also be overly sensitive one day and under sensitive to the very same sensation the next day.

A child with SPD may have difficulties in one or more of the following areas: Continue reading on our website.


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