Sensory processing disorder or sometimes called sensory integration dysfunction involves the difficulty of the brain in receiving sensory information with additional difficulty in interpreting and responding to these stimuli as well.
Sensory processing disorder is usually common in children, but there are also cases in adults. Moreover, it is commonly a co morbidity of other conditions such as autism and not usually a separate disease entity or a standalone condition.
Symptoms of Sensory Processing Disorder
Sensory processing disorder usually involves either oversensitivity or under sensitivity to stimulus. Common symptoms of oversensitivity include:
- Overwhelming sounds
- Painful sensation when hearing loud noise
- Overreaction even to light stimulus
In other people, there may also be one or more of the following:
- Lack of coordination
- Inability to concentrate during play or conversation
- Inability to recognize where the limbs are (due to reduction in tactile stimuli)
Sensory integration dysfunction may also occur in one sense such as the sense of taste, touch, hearing, and the like. In other instances, there may be multiple sensory affectations.
In terms of symptoms, sensory processing disorder is usually different among affected individuals. In some children, a slight noise may cause them to vomit and hide while some may have difficulty interpreting the sound. There are also those who become irritated with textures of some foods and some may also scream even when lightly touched. For those with under sensitivity, they may fail to respond to cold and heat and may even be unresponsive to every stimulus.
Causes of Sensory Processing Disorder
There is no known cause of sensory processing disorder, but genetic predisposition is being considered. Other accounts include having problems in the brain activity when a person is confronted with stimulus leading them to be over or under stimulated. Nevertheless, there has been no direct link between a certain cause to sensory processing disorder and the condition may be present with other neurologic conditions.
Diagnosis and Treatment for Sensory Processing Disorder
Sensory processing disorder is usually diagnosed when the changes in sensory stimulation affect the overall well being and functioning of a person. The treatment is usually difficult since it is not a separate medical condition. Nevertheless, there are conventional managements that may be employed and these revolve around helping the patient cope. These treatments include:
- Occupational therapy
Children with sensory processing disorder are managed through helping them cope with the things that they can’t really tolerate. Music therapy, behavioral therapy and the like may be employed. Occupational therapy also helps patients do better with their functioning by helping them cope with certain stimulus around them.
- Sensory integration
Sensory integration is a major approach to sensory processing disorder. It involves helping people with the condition to learn to appropriately respond for them to normally function in their day to day living.
- Chiropractic care
Since the senses travel through the nerves in the spine going to the brain, correcting subluxations may help improve the transmission of sensory stimulus; thereby, improving the person’s ability to interpret and cope.
Aside from these, proper communication as well as empathy is needed by people with sensory processing disorder. If you are a parent, relative or a friend of someone with the condition, understanding them with a non-judgmental attitude may help them accept their condition and cope effectively.