Sensory Processing Disorder

If your child is finding difficulty in everyday tasks and environments that seem easy for most other children, they may be struggling with sensory processing disorder (SPD). Though it’s not uncommon, SPD can be difficult to diagnose and treat without the help of professionals. With early intervention treatment for sensory processing disorder, your child can overcome SPD and reach their full potential.

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What is Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)?

SPD is a neurological disorder that affects how the brain interprets and organizes sensory information from the body. It causes difficulties in processing everyday sensations such as sound, light, texture, smell, and taste. This can lead to a wide range of problems with movement, coordination, balance, play skills, and social interaction.

What Are the 3 Patterns of Sensory Processing Disorders?

Sensory processing disorder can manifest in three primary patterns. Many children with SPD experience a combination of the following patterns.

  1. Sensory Modulation Disorder: Difficulty regulating sensory input, resulting in over- or under-responsiveness to sensory stimuli. Some may also seek or crave certain sensory stimuli.
  2. Sensory-Based Motor Disorder: Difficulty planning and coordinating movements in response to sensory input, resulting in clumsiness, poor balance, or coordination.
  3. Sensory Discrimination Disorder: Difficulty discriminating between different sensations, leading to confusion and difficulty understanding what’s happening in the environment.

Causes of Sensory Processing Disorder in Children

The exact cause of SPD is unknown, but it’s believed to be linked to neurological dysfunction and neurodevelopmental disorders like autism. Some research suggests that certain genetic disorders may also contribute to the development of SPD. Other factors such as premature birth, brain injury, or environmental exposures may play a role as well.

Signs of a Sensory Processing Disorder in Children

The signs of SPD vary from child to child, but here are some common symptoms that may signal a sensory processing disorder:

  • Unusually high or low sensitivity to sound, light, and touch
  • Difficulty with everyday activities such as dressing, eating, and brushing teeth
  • Trouble staying focused or on task
  • Reduced ability to interact with peers
  • Clumsiness or lack of coordination
  • Excessive movement and difficulty staying still

Diagnosing Sensory Processing Disorder in Kids

Diagnosing sensory processing disorder can be difficult because there is no single test to diagnose the condition. Oftentimes the signs of SPD can be confused with autism and ADHD. This is why a comprehensive evaluation involving multiple professionals may be needed.

Sensory processing disorder evaluations may include assessments by an occupational therapist, physical therapist, speech-language pathologist, and psychologist. The evaluation should look at how your child responds to sensory input and how they function in different environments.

Treatments for Sensory Processing Disorder

The goal of treatment is to help your child better manage sensory information and their responses. Depending on your child’s age and the severity of their disorder, treatment may involve occupational therapyphysical therapyspeech-language therapy, or sensory integration. Other treatment strategies may include a sensory diet, sensory-friendly activities, or the use of assistive devices such as weighted blankets or compression garments.

Pediatric Therapy for SPD by Circle of Care

At Circle of Care, we specialize in pediatric therapy services throughout Texas for children with sensory processing disorders. Our team of experienced pediatric therapists works together to provide comprehensive care based on your child’s unique needs. Our goal is to help empower children with SPD to better manage their sensory input and increase their independence. Contact us to learn more or schedule a consultation today.