Sensory Processing Disorder

Sensory Processing Disorder Facts

Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) refers to the way the nervous system receives and processes messages from our surroundings. Messages from the senses go into the brain but do not get organized into appropriate responses.

People with SPD perceive and/or respond to sensory information differently than most people.

Sensory Processing Disorder can affect people in only one sense–for example, just touch–or in multiple senses (visual, auditory, gustatory, proprioceptive or vestibular). One person with SPD may over-respond to touch sensation and find clothing, physical contact, other tactile sensory input to be unbearable. While another person might under-respond and show little or no reaction to stimulation, even pain or extreme hot and cold.

At least one in twenty people in the general population may be affected by SPD. In children with ADHD, Autism, and fragile X syndrome, the prevalence of SPD is much higher than in the general population.

Research data in combination with decades of anecdotal evidence supports that occupational therapy is an effective intervention for treating the symptoms of SPD.

“When I work a child with sensory processing disorder I see a beautiful opportunity to learn from that child how he uniquely experiences the world.”

- Jodi Howe OTR/L

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