Living with someone who has SPD is challenging. Having SPD is challenging. It makes everyday activities seem like conquering Mt. Everest, whether it is a task like getting dressed, eating, or taking a bath!
Sensory processing disorder (SPD) is a condition that affects how your brain processes sensory information (stimuli). Sensory information includes things you see, hear, smell, taste, or touch. SPD can affect all of your senses, or just one. SPD usually means you’re overly sensitive to stimuli that other people are not. But the disorder can cause the opposite effect, too. In these cases, it takes more stimuli to make an impact.
So how do you know if your child is being OVERSENSITIVE or UNDER-SENSITIVE?
Children may be oversensitive if they:
· Think clothing feels too scratchy or itchy.
· Think lights seem too bright.
· Think sounds seem too loud.
· Think soft touches feel too hard.
· Experience food textures make them gag.
· Have poor balance or seem clumsy.
· Are afraid to play on the swings.
· React poorly to sudden movements, touches, loud noises, or bright lights.
· Have behavior problems.
Under-sensitivities (sensory seeking) might include:
· Unable to sit still
· Seek thrills (loves jumping, heights, and spinning).
· Can spin without getting dizzy.
· Don’t pick up on social cues.
· Don’t recognize personal space.
· Chew on things (including their hands and clothing).
· Seek visual stimulation (like electronics).
· Have problems sleeping.
· Don’t recognize when their face is dirty or nose is running.
Treatment for SPD
You might feel like you are completely alone - that daily activities will ALWAYS be incredibly challenging or dreaded. But there is support and help.
SPD Treatment is usually done through therapy. Research shows that starting therapy early is key for treating SPD. Therapy can help children learn how to manage their challenges.
Sensory Integration Therapy sessions are led by a trained therapist. He or she will help you and your child learn how to cope with the disorder. Sessions are based on if your child is oversensitive, under-sensitive, or a combination of both.
Your child also may need Occupational Therapy to help with other symptoms related to SPD. OT can help with fine motor skills, such as handwriting and using scissors. It also can help with gross motor skills, such as climbing stairs and throwing a ball. It can teach everyday skills, such as getting dressed and how to use utensils, as well as providing exposure to sensory sensitivities and enhancing difficulty over time.
For more resources please see the following links below:
For any further questions about SPD, Sensory Integration, or Occupational Therapy, please contact our therapists at contact@speechforsuccessllc, or reach out to our OT at 425-405-0837, ext 2.
Cynthia Knighton, MS, CCC-SLP
Owner/Founder of Speech For Success, LLC