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The Signs and Symptoms of Sensory Processing Disorder

The Signs and Symptoms of Sensory Processing Disorder

Processing of sensory information is an integral part of everyday life. Walking, eating, getting dressed and engaging in conversation all require sensory processing. However, some individuals have difficulty with the processing of this information. Those with sensory processing disorder can become overwhelmed by the amount or intensity of sensory information coming from their bodies and from the environment around them. They may have difficulty providing the right response to the stimuli, which can often cause difficulty in everyday life. Parents can often detect the signs of a sensory processing disorder early in life when children display frequent temper tantrums or seem to have reduced responsiveness to everyday stimuli. Here are some common signs and systems associated with sensory processing disorder.


Practical Solutions

There are a variety of tools to help manage the symptoms associated with sensory processing disorder. In order to avoid physical discomfort, tight fitting seamless clothing can offer comfort. Developing a reliable routine can help children develop their sequencing skills and avoid frustration with unexpected events. Here are some common signs and systems associated with sensory processing disorder that can be treated with these solutions:


Sensory Modulation Problems

Sensory modulation is the inability to properly regulate the intensity of sensory information coming from the body or from the environment. For example, children may find some fabrics extremely itchy and uncomfortable. They may have a highly sensitive gag reflex or find some food textures extremely unpleasant. Grooming tasks, such as hair brushing, tooth brushing or nail trimming can be extremely disturbing. This can also present itself as a high sensitivity to light, to sound or to being touched. Children with sensory processing disorder may respond to these stimuli with extreme behavioral or emotional responses.


Sensory Discrimination Problems

In this type of sensory processing disorder, the child has difficulty separating stimuli and assigning proper meaning to it. Children with sensory discrimination difficulties may not be able to manipulate objects when they are out of sight. They may have trouble distinguishing different sounds or may not be able to find an object in a cluttered picture. They may have trouble with balance or movement speed or may use too little or too much force on objects.


Postural or Vision Problems

Processing problems can also occur in managing the body. This can result in poor posture or balance. Eye or head movements may be poorly controlled. It may also result in trouble tracking moving objects with the eyes or uncertainty with right or left-hand dominance.

 A number of testing methods can be used to assess the extent of the sensitivity and to determine the right therapies to help these individuals manage sensory input more effectively. With the right tools, sensitivities can be treated and managed proactively.


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