Understanding Sensory Processing Disorder can difficult and a bit overwhelming. My hope is that this post will help you gain more information and help calm the overwhelming feelings that you may be dealing with.
Sensory Processing Disorder is a condition where the brain has trouble receiving and processing the information that comes in through the senses. Sensory processing disorder can come on it's own or as one of a list of comorbidities, including under the umbrella of Autism. Like Autism, sensory processing disorder is on a spectrum meaning that the symptoms and severity can differ greatly from person to person.
The disorder may affect one sense- hearing, touching, or taste, but it may also exist across all senses. It often comes with extreme meltdowns as children struggle to manage the sensory input around them. The symptoms overlap and can also be confused with a number of other diagnoses So I recommend that you visit a specialist like a psychologist or neurologist for diagnosis and treatment if you suspect your child has it.
Related- A Mother’s Perspective on Autism
What is Sensory Processing Disorder?
What are some of the symptoms of sensory processing disorder?
- Extreme reactions to sights, scents, sounds, textures, and smells- This can be either no reaction at all to stimulation or major over reaction.
- Abnormal difficulty with social skills.
- Unusual clumsiness or lack of coordination.
- Avoiding stimulation completely or seeking it.
- A lack of self control, beyond what is “normal” for a child.
- Resistance to changes of any kind.
- Difficulty with transitions.
- Issues with motor skills.
What should you do if you think that your child has a sensory processing disorder?
- Keep a journal of signs and symptoms that you see your child display.
- Read up on it as much as you can.
- Discuss your thoughts and findings with your child's doctor.
- Be patient with your child and yourself as you work through establishing coping mechanisms.
How is sensory processing disorder treated?
You child may work with a psychologist and/or an occupational therapist once diagnosed to help them process and work on accepting things they have trouble tolerating, learning healthy responses to situations, and becoming more aware of their body and how it relates to the world. Sensory integration is the main treatment and it involves teaching your child to respond appropriately to external stimuli and function more like typical children do. A good therapist will tailor the program to your child and their needs, never be afraid to ask questions and share with them what your biggest concerns are.
Did this help you with understanding sensory processing disorder? What is your biggest concern as the parent of a child with sensory processing disorder?