Sensory Processing Disorder is characterized by over or under sensitivity to the stimulation received from the child’s 5 senses: sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste.
Underactive Sensory Processing Disorder
These kids either run around on rocks and sticks with no shoes and don’t care or even bother to wear a coat. They don’t respond like normal children when they get hurt. Sometimes they don’t even notice they got a cut. These have underactive Sensory Processing Disorder. Some are severe enough that they hurt themselves just so they can feel something. And because they don’t feel pain well, some hurt others not knowing the extent of it.
These kids hate to eat because their sense of taste is weak, so they base their food experiences on texture and color. They hate green flecks in their food, grainy foods and mixed textures. Eating can be daily drama.
Overactive Sensory Processing Disorder
These are the kids that smell everything. “Who didn’t brush their teeth?” “What’s burning?” “Puppy stinks.” They cannot stand the tag in their shirt, the seam on their socks irritates them. They don’t like crowds because they get over stimulated. They want to skip parties and play alone at home. They also struggle with food. It seems to be hallmark for Sensory Processing Disorder. They can taste much stronger than us which makes most food repulsive. They pull away from a pat on the shoulder or a hug. Some have ‘melt downs’ easier than most children.
Is there Intervention?
Yes! Specialists have found that both over and underactive sensory issues can improve by balancing out their sensory and cognitive functions. When tested, many children had overactive sensory processing in some areas and underactive sensory processing in other areas. Testing and strengthening the underactive areas helped balance their sensory system and calm the overactive areas.
The good news is that the tests and exercises are easy enough to do right at home. You can get started on these with our Unlock Brilliance exercises.
If you prefer to have a professional do it, we have found that an Occupational Therapist or the Brain Balance Centers are great. The Brain Balance centers are all over the U.S. and most are trained in Sensory Processing Disorder remediation.
Hang in there.
More information is coming forward now than ever. There is new brain scanning equipment and studies happening that are shedding light on the causes and interventions. SPD can improve and in many cases be reversed.