Saturday, September 24, 2011

Sensory Processing Disorder

Here's a brief overview of Sensory Processing Disorder. There are several categories that comprise the disorder. The most common, and the one my children fall under, is Sensory Modulation Disorder. This involves one or more areas of sensation, including:

  • Touch
  • Movement and Balance (Vestibular)
  • Body Position and Muscle Control (Proprioception)
  • Sight
  • Sound
  • Smell
  • Taste

The response is usually one of three:

  • Overresponsive (or avoiding)
  • Underresponsive
  • Sensory-Seeking

Let's use Sam as an example (as related to the previous post, only SOME shoes make sense,):

- Being Overresponsive to touch, he is hypersensitive to certain textures, tags in clothing, light touches, and reacts with a fight or flight response.
- Sam gets easily distracted with a lot to see, lots of people, too many toys in the store, or even cluttered classroom walls, and can't focus on his work. Bright lights make him squint and his eyes water and burn.
- Noise is a constant complaint, and a distraction. If I turn the radio up in the car, he says it's bursting his eardrums. He was afraid of the vacuum as a baby.
- Smells are always much stronger for him than anyone else, even ones no ones else notices. This can be an issue in public since he does not know the difference between rude and polite comments about people.
- Taste becomes and issue at dinner every night. I never use pepper if I want him to eat, and anything new usually remains untouched. He also doesn't like his food mixed together or touching, because the flavors mix together and taste different.

It can be challenging, navigating Sam's sensitivities, and then turning around and dealing with Liam's, which are opposite in most cases (he's a sensory-seeker in most areas). However, it's also quite interesting to learn about the science behind the disorder, and the proper sensory functioning. Makes me feel smarter knowing what I know and sharing it.

- Adrienne

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