Sensory Processing Disorder

A term that identifies the way a nervous system receives messages from the various senses turning them into a behavioral or motor response is known as sensory processing.  No matter what you are doing from reading, writing, or using the computer your success in completing the task requires a complete process of sensation which is known as sensory integration.  The inability to organize appropriate responses to those sensory signals each person has is known as a sensory processing disorder.  It is comparable and often described as a “traffic jam” which prevents particular sections of a person’s brain from obtaining information that is necessary to understand and translate the information properly.  Those who have sensory processing disorder find it excessively challenging to act upon any information that is gained through the senses.  Having sensory processing disorder brings forth behavioral problems, depression, inability to succeed in an academic setting, and even anxiety.

Sensory processing disorder can affect people in just one sense (touch, sound, etc.) or in multiple senses at once.  An individual with sensory processing disorder may be prone to overreacting to a particular sensation such as physical contact, a particular food, or certain sounds; many with sensory processing disorder describe their particular feeling to be unbearable in any way.  On the other end of the spectrum, there are those with sensory processing disorder who may not be affected at all or show virtually no stimulation at all in regard to some sensations.  There are even cases where one cannot feel hot or cold making it very dangerous.

Children who are afflicted with sensory processing disorder often times have no ability to process messages from the joints and muscles which affects their overall posture and motor skills.  A prime example would be those “floppy babies;” infants and toddlers who have no control over their limbs and just seem to be limp all the time.  On the other end there are children who exhibit a strong appetite for a variety of sensations which throw them into an overdrive of sorts.  It is common for those with an overeager need to feel and sense things to be misdiagnosed with Attention Hyper Deficit Disorder.

Sensory processing disorder is most common in children, but there are those adults who experience signs and symptoms that are continuously affected by their lack of ability to appropriately and properly interpret those sensory messages they receive on a regular basis.

Having sensory processing disorder takes quite an emotional toll on and individual, and there are several ways to aid in the treatment of this condition.  While there is no cure, occupational therapy has proven to be highly effective in way of teaching one to associate senses with proper responses.  Over a period of time an individual with sensory processing disorder is able to identify the appropriate responses as well as generalize their responses based on the environment they are in.

There are many institutions dedicated to the studying of sensory processing disorder, and finding a proper cure to help those diagnosed with it.