Sensory Processing Disorder
What Is Sensory Processing Disorder?
Sensory processing disorder refers to the way the nervous system receives messages. Messages from the senses are turned into appropriate motor and behavioral responses by the nervous system. Whether you are biting into a sandwich, or reading a book, your completion of the activity requires accurate processing of sensation.
Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), exists when sensory signals are either not detected or don’t get organized into appropriate responses. It is a neurological “traffic jam” that prevents certain parts of the brain from receiving the information needed to interpret sensory information correctly. A person with SPD finds it difficult to process and act upon information received through the senses, which creates challenges in performing countless everyday tasks. Motor clumsiness, behavioral problems, anxiety, depression, school failure, and many other problems may impact those who do not have effective treatment.
Sensory Processing Disorder can affect people in only one sense–for example, just touch–or in multiple senses (visual, auditory, gustatory, or the sensory processing that comes movement, muscles and joints). One person with SPD may over-respond to touch sensation and find clothing, physical contact, other tactile sensory input to be unbearable. While another person might under-respond and show little or no reaction to stimulation, even pain or extreme hot and cold. In children whose sensory processing of messages from the muscles and joints is impaired, posture and motor skills can be affected. These children may seem like “floppy” children who prop themselves up on walls when standing and love to hang out, but not to move. In yet another subtype, children are awkward and clumsy. Still other children seem to crave sensory sensation and are in perpetual overdrive.
Below you will find a list of resources that have been invaluable to us in learning about SPD. Please let us know if there are resources you think belong on the list.