Sensory Processing Disorder
Sensory Processing Disorder is when the brain has trouble receiving and responding to information that comes from the five senses. This is a disorder most common with children and most associated with those on the autism spectrum. It is important for children with autism to receive treatment in order to better react to their senses as they grow into adulthood.
Many with SPD are oversensitive to the environment around them where common sounds can be painful or overwhelming. A shirt or even wearing a seatbelt can cause their skin to chafe. Having this disorder can also mean having a tendency to bump into things, being uncoordinated, and having trouble playing and making conversation. Children can either be affected by one sense or all of them. There can be a variety of reactions when senses come into place like hearing the sound of people cheering can make you want to cover your eyes or hearing a leaf blower can cause you to vomit or hide. Some scream when they are touched or hate certain food textures. Children can exhibit tantrums and meltdowns when change occurs.
If these symptoms continue to exist, it is important for parents to seek treatment for their kids. Even though SPD is not a stand alone disorder does not mean that it cannot be treated. Treatment will help children do better in activities that they are not so good at and get used to things that they have trouble tolerating. There is sensory integration where kids are challenged in a fun and playful way to respond appropriately and function normally.
There is also Developmental, Individual Difference, Relationship-based model where during the “floortime” method, there are multiple twenty minute sessions where kids play with their parents. A therapist would ask the parent to follow the child’s lead. For example, if the child is rubbing the same spot on the floor multiple times, the parent would follow the same action in order to enter into the child’s world. In the second session, the parents will create challenges to master their children on relating, thinking, and communicating. If the child under reacts to touch and sound, parents need to be more energetic. If the child overreacts to touch and sound, parents will sooth the child. This mode of therapy will help children live in a world that they are no longer afraid of anymore where they can handle their senses.
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