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What is Sensory Processing Disorder?

Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), known as sensory integration dysfunction, is a condition in which the brain has issues receiving and responding to information, offering adequate responses to the requirements of the environment. 

Sensory Processing Disorder is the source of significant problems in organizing feelings from the body and the atmosphere.
Sensory Processing Disorder manifests difficulties in the abilities and performances in these areas of life:

• Productivity
• Leisure and play
• Pursuits of daily living

Sensory Processing Disorder can be frequently identified in children, but can also affect adults.

Types of Sensory Processing Disorder

The Diagnostic Classification of Mental Health and Developmental Disorders in Infancy and Early Childhood defined Sensory Processing Disorders.

Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) classifies into three categories: 

① Sensory Modulation Disorder (SMD)

Sensory Modulation Disorder refers to a compact central nervous system process by which neural message conveys information about the intensity, frequency, duration, complexity, and novelty of sensory stimuli.

SMD consists of three subtypes:

⁃ Sensory over-responsivity
⁃ Sensory under-responsivity
⁃ Sensory craving/seeking

② Sensory-based motor disorders (SBMD)

SBMD is described as a motor difficulty with an underlying neural and has two subtypes: 

⁃ Postural Disorder 
⁃ Dyspraxia  

Distinct from Sensory Modulation Disorder (SMD), in which people have difficulty managing sensory input, individuals with SBMD are regulated but have a sensory-motor difficulty. 


Children who demonstrate poor postural control may also describe the other SBMD subtype, Dyspraxia, or motor planning problems. 


③ Sensory discrimination disorders (SDD)

Sensory Discrimination Disorder is the last and most challenging category to describe.

SDD has eight subtypes: visual, auditory, proprioceptive, vestibular, tactile (touch), olfactory (smell), gustatory (taste) and interoception.

Discrimination represents the capability to interpret information. It enables you to compare multiple details, disregarding irrelevant information. A disorder of perception means that you have difficulty understanding information. 

For example: 



- Did she say cat, cap, or pack? 


- Is that a quarter or a nickel in my pocket? 


- Where is the key that looks like this? 


- How hard should I push this forward to move it but not break the glass? 


- Which way am I turning? 


This discussion highlights how discrimination difficulties might affect a child in each sensory domain.

Causes of Sensory Processing Disorder

There is no probable cause for Sensory Processing Disorder, but research indicates possible risk factors include:

⁃ Prematurity or multiple births

⁃ Prenatal exposure to drugs, alcohol.

⁃ Genetic predisposition

⁃ Birth trauma, such as lack of oxygen or surgery soon after birth.

⁃ Insufficient stimulation after birth, such as institutionalization in orphanages

⁃ Significant hospitalizations and the immobilization from invasive medical procedures

- Sensory Processing Disorder often co-exists with allergies, ear infections, and asthma.

Symptoms that your child might have Sensory Processing Disorder 

Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) is challenging to diagnose, but particular behaviors help you in your search. We have put together 8 of the most typical indicators of Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). 

Hyper-acute hearing 

Some children with Sensory Processing Disorder can hear even the quietest, softest sounds. You might see that your child seems to be bothered by sounds that other people overlook. 

Hypersensitive hearing

Regular everyday sounds are unbearable for children with Sensory Processing Disorder.

Intolerance to textures and specific clothing

Some of the children with SPD can not withstand the feeling of their bodies on individual pieces of clothing. They want simple styles with very few stitchings. They may not be able to wear certain materials like wool.

High tolerance for pain

Children with SPD may not discern or be neutral when they hurt themselves. Often these children have a delayed response when they get hurt.

Overly aggressive

You may remark that your child tends to be excessively aggressive when playing with other kids. However, frequently these children aren't aware of their force and that they could be hurting someone else. As a consequence, your children may have trouble making friends. 

Difficulty using excellent motor skills 

For example, they can use crayons or pens or buttons on clothing for themselves.

Impaired language development

Some children with SPD may struggle to understand instructions and questions. They may confuse similar-sounding words and tend to work on enunciating clearly. Many also have reading difficulties.​

Treatment for Sensory Processing Disorder

Sensory integration therapy


The main form of neural integration therapy is occupational therapy, with a specifically designed room where a child can stimulate and challenge all senses.

During the session, the therapist works closely with the child to implement a level of sensory stimulation that the child can cope with and encourage movement inside the room.

Four main principles drive sensory integration therapy:

  • Just the proper challenge (the child must be able to meet the challenges presented through playful activities)

  • Adaptive response (the child adapts his behavior with valuable strategies in response to the challenges presented)

  • Active engagement (the child will want to participate because the activities are fun)

  • Child-directed (the child's preferences used to initiate therapeutic experiences within the session)


Sensory processing therapy

This therapy retains all of the aspects mentioned above and adds:

  • Intensity (person attends therapy daily for an extended period)

  • Developmental approach 

  • Test-retest systematic evaluation 

  • Process-driven vs. activity driven (therapist focuses on the "Just right" emotional connection)

  • Parent education (parent education sessions scheduled into the therapy process)

How can you help a child who has Sensory Processing Disorder?

Dealing with the unexpected behaviors that come with Sensory Processing Disorder can be challenging for the whole family.

The strategies you can use:


  • Explore sensory-friendly indoor activities.

  • Find out what to do if your child refuses to wear some pieces of clothing.

  • Download a hands-on activity to identify your child's strengths.


The last and most important thing is to pay attention to what your child is reacting to. For example, if he is sensitive to loud noises or bright lights, try to reduce them in his environment.

According to education, I can say that "Fluent AAC" is one of the few apps that allows children/adults to use the time spent in front of a screen for educational purposes. So, while the child is learning to communicate fast and efficiently, he also gets access to a stunning design.

The pictures in bright, vivid colors make it easier for the child to understand the words and keep them in mind. Due to this incredible design, the child will associate an action with the corresponding image. "Fluent AAC" is a way of interacting and simultaneously recreating.

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