Sensory Processing Disorder

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.

The next steps...

Contact us today to find out how NETwork is helping families and schools like yours.  For more information and resources please get in touch with us.

"Our son was diagnosed with Asperger’s aged 7; NETwork Interventions spent a day observing him at school and at home and quickly identified the skills he was lacking – skill deficits that we - and others working with our son - had not picked up on. NETwork Interventions trained us to help our son learn those missing skills. The results have been remarkable – he no longer cries about going to school, his concentration and behaviour are much better and he is far less likely to alienate others by the things he says. Thank you."
Parent in Surrey

"It is always a pleasure talking to Lu and Shelley - we think they are superstars!"
C & C, Ottawa

"We started an informal intervention for our 18 month old last week, Zack. Lu came for an observation around a month ago. This was followed by Shelley spending two days with our family last week. Our 18 month old had three signs and plenty of motivation and social intent, but no requests for items or people. He had a few unintelligible requests for activities and just sounds or unintelligible words for when he labels things. We have done our research. As professionals in the field of child development and with ASD and ADHD in our extended family, we know that it is better to act earlier rather than later. We didn’t want a heavy or burdensome programme for reasons of time, of finance and also of emotion. Admitting there may be a problem is actually very difficult. Last week was extremely draining emotionally in this capacity. We know that prevention is necessary as there is no firm cure and we can’t take the risk of not intervening and waiting another six months as our GP and Paediatrician told us. Shelley came to the farm with us, came swimming with us, to the park and to granny and grandpa’s home with us. She did day to day life with us such as bath time and bed time. The first day Shelley watched what life was like for me, balancing home, children, marriage and work. Life is hectic. The second day we swapped roles and she put recommendations in acting as I would and then supported me to implement it. She is coming back on Thursday to see how we are getting on and she is returning with a new schedule for me after going away to analyse it these last few days. We are absolutely thrilled with Zack’s progress already. His Gymboree teachers commented on his language ‘explosion’. His aunty, who does not know that we are running this intervention, commented on how much Zack is talking this week. I am confident that within a few months, Zack will not have a spiky developmental profile and it looks as though he will have even more skills than his peers at this rate. This is fun and I am so grateful to Shelley, Lu and Ruth who, together, have created the ‘perfect programme’ for us."
Luke, Louise, Lyndsay and Zack, Surrey, England

"This week I have been feeling very defeated with my son changing campuses at school. At the end of my call with Shelley I was filled with hope again. That is why I love our calls. Not simply because of the work with my son, but because Shelley always helps me to see a way forward. "
Gem, Brisbane

"I have had previous counselling for over two years but left because of no progress. I am finding the experience with Liz different in a very positive way. After just four sessions I am seeing great progress."
M, London

"The observation and assessment period that NETwork complete at the beginning is difficult to understand at the outset, but it turns out that it is an intricate process that [does] indeed find the issues to work on and subsequently address and resolve."
Mum, Quebec

"Dillan had significant behavioural issues and received a very late diagnosis of NVLD when he was 9 years old. This diagnosis did little to help our family. Louise quickly and efficiently set up a programme for our teenage son which rapidly identified his strengths and weaknesses. Shelley taught us and his teachers how to best address these, including language deficits which had previously remained unrecognised, Louise’s team worked within our budget, working hours and extensive travel commitments, working closely with school and our local authority to ensure everybody was on board and funding accessed. At times it felt as though Louise was coordinating a small army. Additional support of parent-counselling through Louise’s team proved invaluable, even though we were originally a little sceptical. It most likely made the difference between success and failure in our ability as parents to sustain a positive family unit whilst implementing the programme. We worked with NETwork Interventions for just under one year."
Dr Edwards, North London

"We would like to say a massive thank you for your hard work during the 2 day assessment. We are so grateful and highly impressed with your level of knowledge, confidence, professionalism as well as the kindness and respect shown to our family. Now, we really believe there is light at the end of the tunnel."
Monica, UK

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