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Know the Signs of a Sensory Processing Disorder

Know the Signs of a Sensory Processing Disorder
November 8, 2018 Barbara Cravey
Family Standing on the Beach at Sunset with Sensory Processing Disorder

It is important to stay informed for your safety, your children’s safety, and the safety of others, but it can be difficult to keep up with all the news circulating, especially in these busy and largely technology bound times.

Often certain disorders coincide with others, or even match or mirror their symptoms, meaning that being an informed parent is more important now than ever to ensure awareness and early diagnosis.

Sensory Processing Disorder, or SPD, is one of the many disorders which can be difficult to distinguish early, as it can seem like a number of other, similar disorders, or even be diagnosed in addition to others.

But what are the signs? What is Sensory Processing Disorder? And what are treatment options? ABC Pediatric wanted to bring together a wealth of information on this pertinent topic to share with our readers, families, and community.

After all, it is not uncommon that the first people to notice a clinical disorder in their children are the parents, as they spend the most time with them, and oftentimes see the most symptoms.

Read on for our concise yet comprehensive guide to Sensory Processing Disorder, its signs, and solutions.

What is Sensory Processing Disorder?

Sensory Processing Disorder is a condition where the brain has trouble responding, receiving, or understanding information that comes to it through the senses. This is not a new disorder, though it is newly named – it was formerly known as sensory integration dysfunction.

Some individuals with SPC are oversensitive to sensory stimulation in their everyday environment, such as loud noises, bright colors, or even soft or slight touch. This can be painful to the individual, causing emotional or even physical pain.

However, not all individuals with Sensory Processing Disorder follow the same line of symptoms. Some find it difficult to coordinate their bodies, engage in conversation or playing, or even tell where their body parts are in space.

This disorder is usually first identified in children but can affect adolescents and adults if undiagnosed. One of the reasons for this is because it is often seen in individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder, or ASD, and is not yet recognized as a stand-alone disorder, but only in conjunction with ASD or other developmental disorders.

What are the Signs?

Some of the signs for Sensory Processing Disorder are:

Oversensitivity to one sense, like hearing, touch or taste

Oversensitivity to multiple senses

Under – or over – responding to difficulties regarding sensory processes

Often anxious children or fussy infants

Difficulty handling change

Frequent meltdowns or tantrums

Unable to tell where their limbs are in relation to their bodies

Difficult to engage in conversation or play activities

Like many disorders, the symptoms or signs are on a sliding scale or spectrum, much like ASD. For example, many children have tantrums, but therapists and professionals only consider a diagnosis of SPD when the symptoms are severe enough to disrupt normal functioning and everyday life.

What are the Treatments for Sensory Processing Disorder?

Because SPD is not yet a fully recognized diagnosis at this time, it can be difficult to find treatment options or plans.

Treatment for individuals with SPD depend largely on the individual’s unique needs, however, in general, the treatments are meant to help the child better tolerate their environment.

These treatments are often called sensory integrations and use play therapy to help the child learn to respond in more functionally appropriate ways to stimuli.

Some treatments engage the parent in playing with the child, even in atypical behaviors so the parent can follow the child’s lead, then the parent creates small challenges that can help them master skills like communicating or thinking during stimulating situations.

Each session, treatment plan, and goal must be tailored to the child’s needs and sensory issues, making each treatment different, but with similar goals in mind.

Connect with ABC Pediatrics and Learn Your Options

If SPD and its signs sound familiar, or if your child is living with ASD or other developmental disorders, call ABC Pediatrics at (972) 410-5297.

Let’s find the solution that best meets your child’s and your family’s goals, because every child is special and has exceptional potential.

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