Sensory Processing Disorder and How Occupational Therapy Is Used to Help

Sensory Processing Disorder and How Occupational Therapy Is Used to Help

Sensory processing disorder (SPD) is a condition that is sometimes not recognized and is being experienced by more children today than in the past. It is also referred to as sensory integration disorder. It occurs when a child finds it difficult to absorb and interpret sensory information, and as a result demonstrates a reaction to that information. It is a neurological condition that affects the manner in which sensations are processed and experienced. When the response to sensory signals is not in the form of normal, appropriate responses, the result can be significant disruption to the child’s daily activities and routine. At TEAM 4 Kids, we offer occupational therapy for children to help them gain the skills they need to function better in a variety of environments.

Types of Sensitivities

Sensitivities can stem from any of the senses (seeing, hearing, taste, smell, touch, etc.). Sensory issues often accompany autism. As an example, some kids are sensitive to certain types of tastes, smells, and sounds overwhelming to their senses. Others are highly sensitive to fluorescent or bright lights. Another child may find the feel of a shirt on the skin very uncomfortable. Sometimes these sensory overloads affect children with autism, but not all cases of SPD are with those who have been diagnosed with autism.

Symptoms of Possible SPD

SPD may manifest in the following ways with a child:

  • Delayed motor skills such as crawling, walking, standing, or running
  • Resistance to cuddling
  • Eating difficulties
  • Being awkward or clumsy
  • Overreaction or sensitivity to sensory stimulation such as smells, touches, or sounds
  • Being excessively distracted in class or when being taught new tasks
  • Craving strenuous physical activity such as tackling, wrestling, and rough housing

A child with these symptoms may be overwhelmed with his or her environment or have difficulty sitting still or focusing.

How Occupational Therapy Can Help

Occupational therapy is used to address the needs of children with sensory processing disorder by determining the stimuli to which they are sensitive and then working with them to produce treatment plans and coping mechanisms. A play-based may be used which provides a safe environment in which children are exposed to different stimuli. Some of the activities this may involve include moving through an obstacle course with various surfaces, jumping, therapeutic brushing, playing with water, swinging, and climbing a latter.

The idea is to provide a certain level of stimulation to the senses that provides the body with the information it needs to process the stimulation and learn to handle excess stimulation. During occupational therapy, a diet of sensory inputs are implemented and then parents are given information about replicating these condition at home to help ensure the child receives the right amount and type of sensory input.

Occupational therapy is offered to children to help them gain the skills which allow them to function and behave better in home, social, and academic environments.

To learn about the occupational therapy services we offer for kids, call us in Peoria at 623.248.3324 or in Surprise at 623.322.8250 or in Avondale at 800.376.3440 Otherwise, you may send us an email at [email protected] or text us at 602.919.1060.