SENSORY PROCESSING DISORDER
Did you know we have more than 5 senses?
In addition to the 5 senses of sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste, human beings also have these lesser-known senses:
- Vestibular – feedback to the brain about head position, movement, balance, and spatial orientation
- Proprioceptive – muscle and joint sensations, awareness of body parts in space
- Interoception – sensations related to internal organs and physiological function/ needs
In daily life, a person encounters many different types of sensory inputs, both external and internal. When these sensory signals get disorganized, it can result in inappropriate responses or behaviors to one’s environment. This is called Sensory Processing Disorder (also known as Sensory Integration Dysfunction).
Although Sensory Processing Disorder can appear as a behavioral issue, it is actually a neurological condition.
Symptoms of Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)
Symptoms of SPD may include:
- over- or under-sensitivity to movement, touch, textures, sound, light, smells, or tastes
- picky eating
- challenges with emotional regulation
- poor listening and attention
- emotional dysregulation
- prone to meltdowns
- ADD, ADHD, and/or OCD
- defiant behavior
- lack of coordination
- learning disabilities, and more
Sensory Processing Disorder as a Diagnosis
(from Wikipedia:) Although sensory processing disorder is accepted in the Diagnostic Classification of Mental Health and Developmental Disorders of Infancy and Early Childhood, it is not recognized as a mental disorder in medical manuals such as the ICD-10 or the DSM-5.
Diagnosis is primarily arrived at by the use of standardized tests and questionnaires, expert observational scales, and free play observation at an occupational therapy gym. A child may be referred for an OT evaluation based on a behavioral diagnosis such as ADHD or a neurological diagnosis such as Autism Spectrum Disorder, as well as other diagnoses.
Treatment for Sensory Processing Disorder
SPD in children can be effectively treated and managed with Occupational Therapy. Through therapeutic play activities, the child will be empowered to:
- identify and recognize their thoughts and feelings
- progressively expand their tolerances and comfort zone
- process stimuli in a more functional manner
- choose more appropriate behavioral responses
- perform daily activities more independently
The goal of this approach is to enable the patient (child) to more successfully regulate their own feelings, emotions and thoughts, resulting in more productive behaviors and increased independence.
At Bothell Pediatric, we believe that each child is uniquely brilliant. Through effective therapeutic intervention, it’s our goal to give children the tools they need to succeed at home, at school, in social situations and out in the community. Partnering with parents, we help children increase independence and improve functioning in their activities of daily living.
After the Initial Evaluation, a customized treatment plan is created for each child to support them in maximizing the benefits of therapy. From increasing strengths in a particular area to fostering the brain’s development of neural pathways, all of our therapists monitor and direct the therapeutic “play” sessions in order to ensure that the primary treatment goal is always the focus.
Our unique approach focuses on the successful integration of children’s brain & body systems to advance healthy growth and development. We continually promote collaboration among our licensed therapists to ensure optimal patient outcomes.