About Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)
Sensory processing, sometimes referred to as Sensory Integration, refers to the way the nervous system receives messages from the senses (what is going on around us) and turns them into appropriate motor and behavioural responses.
Symptoms of SPD are varied and can affect children in different ways. While most of us have occasional difficulties processing sensory information, for children with SPD these difficulties are severe enough to disrupt everyday life.
Symptoms of Sensory Processing Disorder can include:
- Constant craving for physical contact known as hyposensitivity. Many children become overtly ‘clingy’ and are reluctant to let go of a parent’s hand, for example. Others may seem to need to be ‘squeezed’ or wrapped up tight
- An intense dislike of physical touch, or a specific type of touch such as hair brushing
- Lack of awareness that they are being overly rough or physically hurting another child
- An indifference to some forms of physical contact (such as the pain of an injection) ,also known as tactile dysfunction
- Refusal to wear new clothes that to them may feel stiff or rough
- Refusal to wear certain types of clothing such as coats or socks, or clothing with labels in
- Difficulty with sounds in the every day environment that others do not react to, such as people talking, the vaacuum, or music.
- Refusal to touch play items such as playdoh or glue.
- Speaking too loudly or having music on too loudly
- Intently focusing on an item and having it in front of their face, such as the television
Some children with SPD struggle to engage in activities that their peers are involved in, which can isolate them, cause difficulty making friends and limit their interactions in the school environment
What causes SPD?
Nobody knows the exact cause of SPD, and it’s etiology is still very much in dispute across the scientific disciplines. Although research in to the reasons behind SPD is still in its infancy, research in to effective interventions to deal with SPD is clear. We know that a person with SPD finds it difficult to process and act upon information received through the senses, which creates challenges in performing countless everyday tasks. The good news is: we know how to combat these challenges!
Individuals with other diagnosis such as autism may display behaviours that present like SPD, but in fact the underlying cause is something different. Through identifying definite underlying causes and teaching missing skills to the child, together with consistency in responding to parents, we are able to eliminate these “sensory” behaviours.
Helping your child with SPD
Many people feel this is a disorder that should be catered to and accepted. Our experience, backed by a huge body of medical research, shows that this is untrue. SPD can be overcome.
Our starting point is to undertake a detailed assessment of your child to pinpoint the exact nature of the problem. We then work closely with you and your child to stabilise the child’s behaviour and teach new skills and behaviours. Our approach draws on the science of Verbal Behaviour and Applied Behaviour Analysis which is a highly effective way of helping children with a range of acquired and developmental disorders including SPD.
Many parents of children with SPD are astounded by the progress their child makes. Whether your child needs a very short, intensive intervention, or support over a longer period of time, you can rest assured that we will be with you throughout the process, providing the expertise, skills training and support you need to help your child thrive.
Did you know?
All of the children we have worked with who have this label have successfully overcome every single problem with consistent intervention.