Sensory Processing Disorder in children: Definition, Symptoms, Treatment
Definition: Sensory Processing Disorder or Sensory Integration Dysfunction is a developmental problem that occurs when sensory signals (sound, light, touch, motion) fail to get properly organized in the brain. This lack or disorganization results in inappropriate responses or output. A child with SPD finds it difficult to process and act upon information received through the senses. This creates challenges in performing many common tasks. SPD can be exhibited as an over or under response to sensory input.
1. Hyper-response: This child may find clothing, physical contact, light, sound, food, or movement to be unbearable.
2. Hypo-response: This child may show little or no reaction to stimulation, including pain or extreme temperature.
3. Clumsiness: in both gross and fine motor skills.
4. Hyper-active: a desire or craving for sensation that is in perpetual overdrive. (This can lead to a misdiagnosis of ADHD.)
5. Social/emotional issues: social isolation, poor self-concept, academic failure, being labeled clumsy, uncooperative, or disruptive, anxiety, depression, and/or aggression (These symptoms are side-effects that can occur as a result of poor academic and social performance and are not specifically caused by SPD.)
In the clinic, SPD treatment is generally done by an Occupational Therapist and includes a variety of auditory, deep pressure, tactile and Vestibular input. Parents can offer many Vestibular options at the local playground (slides, swings, merry-go-rounds). Tactile options include sandbox and ball pit. Wonderful deep pressure activities at home include: bear hugs, wheelbarrow game, and “hotdog in a bun”.
Author Bio: Bailey Earith is a professional artist with many years experience as an Occupational Therapist. She brings art into special ed classrooms across Tennessee as an artist-in-residence. These projects are designed to support and enhance specific academic lessons identified by the teacher. Bailey also presents lectures on using art successfully in special education to organizations across the country. She can be reached at Bailey@BaileyFiberArt.com. Visit her blog at http://disability-art.blogspot.com.