Have bright or artificial lights ever bother you? What about loud or repetitive noises? Is your diet extremely limited because you can’t handle certain textures or tastes of certain foods? Are you sensitive to different kinds of smells and have trouble with picking out clothes that you feel comfortable in? Is your balance and motor nerves lacking in skills? Does your hygiene routine seem like a daunting task to you and you just sometimes refuse to do it because you can’t handle the senses from it? These are just a few examples of something called Sensory Processing Disorder, or SPD. It is also still sometimes called Sensory Integration Disorder.
Often, SPD can be found with people who are on the Autism Spectrum but it can also be linked with other developmental disabilities. It can also be linked to having a brain injury, premature birth, various learning disorders and various other conditions. It can be diagnosed in children early and they can start with treatment usually right away.
No one really knows for sure what is the main cause for STD. It may be because of irregular brain function or just inherited from a family member. Research is still ongoing.
There are many symptoms for STD. Not everyone has to exhibit each one though to be able to get diagnosed with it. The most common symptoms for STD are:
Has a hard time handling various textures in clothes, food and items that require touch
Doesn’t like harsh noises and crowded areas
Deals with motion sickness and is easily set off (such as riding in the car just for a short time)
Pulls away from physical affection
Has sensitive eyesight and dislikes bright lights
Has a limited food diet
Having trouble with sleep because of the certain environment they may be in and triggers their sensory overload.
Usually always feeling stressed out and anxious
Can have trouble hearing in an open environment because of sensory overload
Fidgeting and have trouble with impulse control
Has trouble with motor skills and have poor posture
Cannot properly grasp objects
There is treatment available that includes Sensory Integration Therapy and Sensory Processing Therapy. Before going into treatment you will have to go through some diagnostic tests and be officially diagnosed by an occupational therapist, a psychologist, a learning specialist or even physiotherapists/speech and language therapists. To get a proper diagnosis it is recommended to get a few different ones from one of these various therapists mentioned.
Information on SPD is still being gathered and researched, it is still under ‘investigational’ therapy and has issues being properly covered by health insurance. SPD can also be combined with other disorders like Autism/Aspergers, ADHD, etc. It is best to keep researching and find the right kind of support that works best for you.