Recognizing Sensory Challenges

Written by Jessica Hardy, BA, COTA

“So… what’s the deal with sensory processing disorder??”

We get this question a lot!

While SPD can exist alongside autism or ADHD, it is a separate condition characterized by a disconnection between the brain and the senses, making it hard for the brain to receive the information it needs for everyday function. This presents as over or under sensitivity to sensory information in their environment, with difficulty performing daily tasks due to distraction or processing delays. Clumsiness, behavioral issues, picky eating, anxiety, playing too rough, or struggling in school are some common symptoms of SPD.

Many people ask us why there seem to be more occurrences of conditions such as SPD now than there used to be. The simple answer is that there likely aren’t! Diagnoses exist before they have a name – and before we have an understanding of how to treat them. While SPD isn’t yet recognized as a formal diagnosis in the DSM, it is a condition that we are learning how to better and more explicitly treat. Now, instead of a child who has poor force modulation being labeled a “bully” or a child who avoids large groups being called a “loner,” we as a society are better recognizing these as sensory challenges in children – and that’s a good thing! From there, we can begin interventions specifically designed to meet their needs. Teaching coping skills and strategies can help them avoid developmental delays, social isolation, and difficulties at school – and from developing maladaptive or unhealthy coping strategies on their own.

If you feel that your child struggles with SPD, please reach out to schedule an occupational therapy evaluation so we can help them navigate it! ⁠

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TLC Kids Therapy

We provide a safe, enriching and child friendly environment for therapy. Our mission is to be a blessing to all of the children and families that comes through our doors.

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