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Sensory Processing Disorders


Sensory Processing Disorders

Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) refers to difficulties in the way the nervous system receives, processes, and responds to sensory information from the environment. SPD can affect various senses, and individuals may experience challenges in processing sensory input, leading to heightened sensitivities or reduced sensitivities. While SPD is not officially recognized as a standalone diagnosis in some diagnostic manuals, it is commonly discussed within the field of occupational therapy. Here are different types of sensory processing challenges:

Sensory Modulation Disorder:

Sensory modulation involves the ability to regulate and respond appropriately to sensory stimuli. In Sensory Modulation Disorder, individuals may have difficulties regulating their responses to sensory input, leading to overreactivity (hypersensitivity), underreactivity (hyposensitivity), or inconsistent responses.

Hypersensitivity: Overresponsiveness to sensory stimuli, resulting in heightened reactions. For example, being extremely bothered by bright lights, loud sounds, or certain textures.

Hyposensitivity: Underresponsiveness to sensory stimuli, requiring more intense input to register a response. For example, not noticing pain or discomfort, seeking intense sensory experiences.

Sensory Discrimination Disorder:

Sensory discrimination involves the ability to perceive and differentiate between various sensory stimuli. In Sensory Discrimination Disorder, individuals may struggle to accurately interpret and distinguish sensory information.

Visual Discrimination: Difficulty distinguishing visual details, leading to challenges in tasks like reading or identifying objects.

Auditory Discrimination: Difficulty distinguishing between different sounds, affecting the ability to understand spoken language.

Tactile Discrimination: Difficulty recognizing and interpreting tactile sensations, impacting tasks like dressing, handwriting, or fine motor activities.

Sensory-Based Motor Disorder:

Sensory-based motor disorders involve challenges in coordinating movements in response to sensory input. Individuals may struggle with motor planning and execution.

Dyspraxia: Difficulty planning and executing purposeful and coordinated movements. This can affect both gross and fine motor skills.

Postural Disorder:

Postural control involves maintaining balance and stability during various activities. In Postural Disorder, individuals may have difficulties with postural stability and may appear unsteady or have poor posture.

Sensory-Related Behavioral Disorders:

Sensory processing challenges can also manifest in behavioral difficulties, including anxiety, meltdowns, or avoidance behaviors in response to sensory stimuli.

Sensory Over-Responsivity (SOR):

Sensory over-responsivity involves an extreme reaction to sensory stimuli that others may find tolerable. Individuals with SOR may become easily overwhelmed by sensory input and may avoid or become distressed in certain environments.

Sensory Under-Responsivity (SUR):

Sensory under-responsivity refers to a reduced sensitivity or responsiveness to sensory stimuli. Individuals with SUR may not notice certain sensations or may require intense stimuli to register a response.

Sensory Craving:

Sensory craving involves a strong desire or seeking behavior for certain sensory experiences. Individuals may actively seek out intense sensory input to meet their sensory needs.

It’s important to note that individuals with SPD may experience a combination of these challenges, and their sensory processing patterns can vary widely. Occupational therapists often play a key role in assessing and providing interventions to support individuals with sensory processing difficulties. Interventions may include sensory integration therapy, environmental modifications, and strategies to help individuals cope with sensory challenges in daily life.

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