Sensory Processing disorder / Sensory Integrative Dysfunction
Sensory processing disorder and sensory integration dysfunction occur when children have difficulty processing normal information from the senses (i.e., sound, sight, smell, taste, touch and hearing). The exact cause is not known, but this is commonly seen in children with autism spectrum disorder as well as other developmental disabilities.
Symptoms can include, but not limited to:
- Withdrawing when touched
- Oversensitivity to odors
- Refusal to eat certain foods due to the feel
- Hypersensitivity to certain fabrics
- Appearing clumsy
- Having difficulty calming oneself
- Being overly sensitive to sound and much more
School-aged children may require therapy using a sensory integration approach to support educational needs as well as life skills and community-based needs. In addition to providing interventions that remediate the sensory integration issues influencing behaviors in the classroom and at home, occupational therapists can also make modifications to the home and classroom environment in order to assist children in participating and progressing at school, playing, making friends, and focusing in order to learn. Examples might be managing sensory information during home and school routines like riding the school bus, tolerating smells and noise in the kitchen and cafeteria, and playing on the playground with others.
Adolescents and young adults may benefit from strategies that help individuals understand their own sensory processing systems and the impact on leisure activities, vocational choices, and relationships. Individuals whose participation in everyday activities is limited because they are fearful of movement, sensitive to touch, or unaware of body position in space and have not had the opportunity to use their bodies to effectively explore the sensory (proprioceptive, tactile, vestibular) and physical environment may also benefit from occupational therapy using this frame of reference.
How Therapy Care Can Help
If it is suspected that someone is having sensory processing issues, our therapists first complete a thorough evaluation to determine where your child is having the most difficulties. Our therapists then coordinate fun and interactive activities that engage sensory inputs to challenge and successfully organize responses. Over time, this improves the ability to process sensations more normally and engage in a happy, productive lifestyle.