We talked last week about some facts you should know about auditory processing disorder (APD). Today, I wanted to step back a bit and look at the overall larger picture of sensory processing disorder (SPD), which APD belongs to. Many parents who have children with learning or behavioral problems often also experience issues with sensory processing, and at Learn 2 Focus, we can work on integrating those senses that have been disrupted. Also called sensory integration dysfunction, SPD can affect children so much that it interferes with their normal, everyday functioning – changing clothes, putting on shoes, studying, or eating certain foods.
Here are seven important things that you should know about SPD:
1. Sensory integration is a natural, neurological developmental process that begins in the womb and continues throughout your life. When this process is disrupted and causes a neurological dysfunction, SPD can occur.
2. SPD can be categorized into tactile (sense of touch), vestibular (sense of movement), proprioception (sense of position), auditory (sounds), oral (relating to mouth), olfactory (smell) and visual (sight).
3. Important: We all have some type of sensory preferences. Maybe we even have a mild case of dysfunction. However, the frequency, intensity, duration and functional impact of these symptoms varies and can determine their effect on your life as a disorder.
4. With SPD, there is hypersensitivity (over-responsiveness) or hyposensitivity (under-responsiveness). Remember, a child can be one or the other, or both in different areas at the same time. With hypersensitivity, the child may be fearful of surprise touches, and will avoid hugs and cuddling. On the other hand, hyposensitivity to sensory input may include a constant need to touch people or certain textures, or maybe a lack of understanding when it comes to personal space.
5. Just because your child has sensory dysfunction doesn’t mean that he or she will have all the symptoms of SPD. For example, a child with vestibular dysfunction may have poor balance, but good muscle tone.
6. There may be inconsistencies. A child may show characteristics of a dysfunction one day, but not the next.
7. The good news: All of these challenges can be managed effectively with our drug-free Learn 2 Focus programs such as : Interactive Metronome, The Listening Program, InTime, and even supplementary sensory games associated with our Wilson Reading System.