Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) is a condition in which the brain has difficulty receiving and processing information from the senses. This can affect how a child responds to sensory input and may impact their ability to function in daily life.
There are three subtypes of SPD:
- Sensory Modulation Disorder: This subtype affects a child's ability to regulate and respond to sensory input. Children with this subtype may be either over-responsive or under-responsive to sensory input.
- Sensory Discrimination Disorder: This subtype affects a child's ability to perceive and distinguish between different types of sensory input. Children with this subtype may struggle to recognize differences in textures, temperatures, or tastes.
- Sensory-Based Motor Disorder: This subtype affects a child's ability to use sensory information to plan and execute movements. Children with this subtype may struggle with tasks that require coordination or balance.
Children with SPD may exhibit a range of behaviors, depending on the subtype and the specific sensory input involved. Some common signs of SPD in children include:
- Over-sensitivity to touch, sound, taste, or smell.
- Avoidance of certain textures or types of food.
- Difficulty with transitions or changes in routine.
- Impulsivity or difficulty with self-regulation.
- Poor coordination or balance.
- Delayed speech or language development.
If you suspect that your child has SPD, it's important to speak with a healthcare professional who can provide a diagnosis and recommend appropriate interventions, which may include occupational therapy or sensory integration therapy.
- People with SPD can have a heightened awareness of their environment, making them highly perceptive and intuitive.
- Individuals with SPD may have a unique ability to connect with others on an emotional level, and can be highly empathetic and compassionate.
- Some people with SPD have excellent verbal communication skills and can be highly articulate and persuasive.
Warm and fun scientific facts
- Children with SPD may have a unique ability to recognize and process complex sensory information.
- They may have higher-than-average IQ scores.
- They are better at detecting low-frequency sounds and slight changes in temperature.
- Children with SPD may experience discomfort or pain in response to certain sensory stimuli, such as loud noises or bright lights.
- People with SPD may struggle to regulate their responses to sensory input, and may experience anxiety or other emotional challenges as a result.
How parents and teachers can be more sensitive
- Create a supportive and understanding environment that accommodates the unique needs of individuals with SPD, such as minimizing sensory triggers and offering sensory tools and accommodations.
- Educate others about SPD to reduce stigma and promote acceptance.
- Encourage the individual to pursue their interests.
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Kranowitz, C. S. (2006). The out-of-sync child: Recognizing and coping with sensory processing disorder. Penguin.
Niutanen, U., Harra, T., Lano, A., & Metsäranta, M. (2020). Systematic review of sensory processing in preterm children reveals abnormal sensory modulation, somatosensory processing and sensory‐based motor processing. Acta Paediatrica, 109(1), 45-55.