This sensory processing is also often called sensory integration. We need to be able to integrate sensory information to develop, grow and learn, to do activities of everyday life and to have relationships with others.

Sensory Processing can be explained into different stages: registering,orientating, organising, interpreting, responding

Sensory processing is complex because no one is perfect at processing sensory information. All people have some ability to integrate sensory input through their senses, but some may be better than others, who might struggle more.

Who has sensory processing disorder?

Children associated with premature birth, brain injury, learning disorders, and other conditions.Attention Deficit Disorders , Learning Disabilities, Dyspraxia and Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD), Specific Learning Difficulties, Looked after Children and Young People,Post Traumatic event, illness or injury.

What causes sensory processing disorder?

The exact cause of sensory processing disorder is not known. It is commonly seen in people with ASD, and other developmental disabilities. Most research suggests that people with ASD have irregular brain function. More study is needed to determine the cause of these irregularities, but current research indicates they may be inherited.

What are the symptoms?

Children with sensory disorder cannot properly process sensory stimulation from the outside world.

Your child may:

  • Either be in constant motion or fatigue easily or go back and forth between the two.
  • Withdraw when touched.
  • Refuse to eat certain foods because of how the foods feel when chewed.
  • Be oversensitive to odours.
  • Be hypersensitive to certain fabrics and only wear clothes that are soft or that they find pleasing.
  • Dislike getting his or her hands dirty.
  • Be uncomfortable with some movements, such as swinging, sliding, or going down ramps or other inclines. Your young child may have trouble learning to climb, go down stairs, or ride an escalator.
  • Have difficulty calming himself or herself after exercise or after becoming upset.
  • Jump, swing, and spin excessively.
  • Appear clumsy, trip easily, or have poor balance.
  • Have odd posture.
  • Have difficulty handling small objects such as buttons or snaps.
  • Be overly sensitive to sound. Vacuum cleaners, lawn mowers, hair dryers, leaf blowers, or sirens may be upsetting.
  • Lack creativity and variety in play. For instance, your child may play with the same toys in the same manner over and over or prefer only to watch TV or videos.

How is sensory disorder diagnosed?

A health professional, often an occupational or physical therapist, will evaluate your child by observing his or her responses to sensory stimulation, posture, balance, coordination, and eye movements. While many children have a few of the symptoms described above, your health professional will look for a pattern of behavior when diagnosing sensory disorder.

How is it treated?

Ayres Sensory integration therapy, usually conducted by an occupational or physical therapist, is recommended for children who have sensory disorder. It focuses on activities that challenge the child with sensory input. The therapist then helps the child respond appropriately to this sensory stimulus. Therapy might include applying deep touch pressure to a child’s skin with the goal of allowing him or her to become more used to and process being touched. Also, play such as tug-of-war or with heavy objects, such as a medicine ball, can help increase a child’s awareness of her or his own body in space and how it relates to other people.

Although it has not been widely studied, many therapists have found that sensory integration therapy improves behaviours problems.