Sensory processing or sensory integration refers to the way that the body's nervous system receives sensory messages and translates them into the appropriate behavioral and motor response. A disorder in this processing system—sometimes called sensory integration dysfunction or more commonly, sensory processing disorder—results when sensory signals are not organized or translated into the correct or appropriate responses. This condition is often likened to a traffic jam in the neurological system, preventing the brain or parts of it from receiving the sensory information and interpreting them correctly.
Consequences of SPD
Children suffering from SPD find it extremely difficult to act upon and process information that they receive through the senses, making it very challenging to perform even simple everyday tasks. Some common implications of the disorder include motor clumsiness and behavioral problems, difficulty with attention, depression and anxiety, speech problems, failure in school, and other symptoms.
Adaptive treatment is the best way to deal with sensory processing disorders. Children facing these challenges are just as smart, talented, and intelligent as their peers without SPD. In fact, most of them are intellectually gifted, except their brains are wired quite differently. Therefore, they should be taught in ways that are specifically adapted to how they process the information they receive. Even their leisure activities should be tailored to their sensory processing needs.
The Right Therapist and Treatment Program
Choose a therapist who knows how to correctly diagnose your child's sensory processing disorder. Accurate diagnosis is important so that you know exactly what kind of treatment program should be used to address the problem.
Occupational therapy, incorporating sensory integration approach, can to help promote and foster correct responses to sensory inputs in an active and meaningful way so that the child can behave and function in a calmer and more focused manner.