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Sensory Processing Disorder

We are all familiar with the 5 senses: seeing, smelling, hearing, tasting and feeling. But do you know that there are more than 5 senses? There is also a sense of movement (vestibular), a sense of body awareness (proprioception), and a sense of knowing how you feel internally (interoception). 

Sensory processing disorder (formerly known as sensory integration dysfunction) is a condition characterized by difficulty in processing sensory stimuli from the environment in order to make an appropriate response. Children on the autism spectrum are very likely to have sensory processing disorder (SPD). SPD can also occur in children with ADHD, learning disabilities and other developmental delays.

Some of the signs of sensory processing disorder are:

  • Oversensitivity to smells, sounds, touch, taste

  • Under sensitivity to smells, sounds, touch, taste 

  • Aversion to certain textures (foods, clothing, tags on clothing)

  • Difficulty regulating pressure on crayons, pencil (press too hard or too soft)

  • Fearful of swings and playground equipment

  • Clumsiness

  • Tantrums

  • Difficulty with fine motor skills 

  • High or low pain threshold

  • Crashing into walls and people

  • Chewing on clothing and other inedibles


Classroom solutions that an occupational therapist could provide include:

  • Collaborate with the classroom teacher to create a sensory corner

  • A sensory diet specific to the student’s needs

  • Movement breaks

  • Recommend sensory tools specific to the student’s needs such as a weighted vest, compression vest or a sensory box.

If this is a topic of interest I am available to present to parents, educators, and other professionals who work with this population.  

Occupational therapy services are also available. If interested please contact me.  

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