Sensory Processing Disorder A Deeper Look

As an experienced Occupational therapist with over 30 years of experience, I am passionate about exploring and discussing various aspects of sensory processing issues (SPD). Sensory processing disorder is a neurological condition that affects how the brain processes sensory information from the environment. In this blog post, we will delve into the complexities of SPD, provide examples of what it may look like, and outline some key points to help promote understanding and support for those affected by sensory issues...


What is Sensory Processing Disorder?


While sensory processing disorder is not widely known, research has shown that it affects approximately 1 in 20 of the population! Sensory issues can impact anyone regardless of age, gender, or developmental stage. SPD is typically diagnosed by a multidisciplinary team.

To better understand SPD, we must recognize that our bodies receive sensory information from various sources, including touch, taste, sight, sound, smell, balance, and body awareness. Individuals with SPD may have difficulty processing one or more of these sensory inputs, leading to challenges in their daily lives.


Types of Sensory Processing Disorder


There are three primary types of SPD, each with its unique characteristics and challenges:


Sensory Modulation Disorder: 

This type of SPD involves difficulty regulating the intensity of sensory input. Individuals with sensory modulation disorder may be over or under-responsive, fluctuate or crave sensory input.


Sensory-Based Motor Disorder: 

This type of SPD affects a person's ability to plan and execute motor tasks. It includes dyspraxia, which involves difficulty planning and coordinating movements, and postural disorder, which impacts balance and body awareness.


Sensory Discrimination Disorder: 

This type of SPD affects the ability to interpret and understand sensory input, leading to challenges in distinguishing between different sensory stimuli.

Identifying Sensory Processing Disorder

Recognizing the signs and symptoms of SPD is crucial for early intervention and support. 

Some common indicators of SPD include:

  • Difficulty with transitions or changes in routines
  • Sensitivity to specific textures, tastes, sounds, or lights
  • Difficulty with delicate motor tasks, such as writing or buttoning clothing
  • Challenges with gross motor activities, like riding a bike or climbing stairs
  • Struggling with personal space and boundaries
  • Difficulty with self-regulation, including managing emotions and behaviours
  • Challenges in social situations, including participating in group activities


Supporting Individuals with Sensory Processing Disorder

As an experienced occupational therapist, I have seen the significant impact that early intervention and appropriate support can have on the lives of individuals with SPD. Although there’s nothing like an assessment and individualised treatment that I can help with at, here are some key strategies and tools that can help:


Create a sensory-friendly environment: 

Adjusting the home or school environment to minimize sensory triggers can help individuals with SPD feel more comfortable and secure. This might include using dimmable lights, minimizing background noise, and providing access to sensory breaks.


Develop a sensory diet: 

A sensory diet is a customized schedule of sensory activities designed to help individuals with SPD self-regulate and maintain an optimal level of arousal. Occupational therapists can work with families to create a tailored sensory diet that meets the individual's unique needs.


Encourage participation in appropriate activities:

Engaging in activities that promote sensory integration, such as swimming, rowing, or art, can help individuals with SPD develop better sensory processing skills.

Final Thoughts

Sensory processing disorder is a complex and often misunderstood neurological condition. As an experienced occupational therapist, I am committed to sharing my knowledge and expertise through this blog to promote understanding and support for those affected by SPD. By exploring the complexities of this disorder and providing practical strategies and tools, I hope to empower families, educators, individuals themselves, and other professionals to better support individuals with sensory processing challenges.


In other blog posts, we delve further into the various aspects of SPD, discussing specific strategies, interventions, and resources for each type of sensory processing disorder. We also explore the connection between SPD and other developmental and neurological conditions, such as autism spectrum disorder/ condition, ADHD, and learning disabilities.


Together, we can work towards creating a world where individuals with sensory processing challenges can feel understood, supported, and empowered to reach their full potential.


Get your free sensory screening, guides for all ages, know your sensory type, videos, and #1 Amazon Bestseller!


We hate SPAM. We will never sell your information, for any reason.