Here are some frequently asked questions to help you better understand sensory processing disorder.
1. What is sensory processing disorder?
This is a condition that affects the ability of the brain to receive sensory information and how it receives and responds to it. At the moment, SPD is not identified as a medical diagnosis. People with Sensory Processing Disorder are usually overly sensitive to things in their environment and may find most things overwhelming. While sensory processing disorder is more prevalent in children, it affects adults too.
It is also seen in developmental conditions like autism.
2. Is sensory processing disorder hereditary?
Research says that the condition can be inherited. It is coded in the child’s gene and runs in families. The genetic influence of the condition can be moderate to strong, however, environmental factors can also influence it.
Birth risks or trauma during birth can also cause SPD. A good example is injuries caused by doctors and nurses during delivery, which lead to the loss of smell, sight, and other critical sensory functions.
Poor prenatal care and restrictions in a child’s early life could also lead to SPD.
3. Does SPD go away?
For most people, SPD resolves on its own and can improve as the child matures. In some cases, the condition can get milder and less impactful on an individual’s life. In some cases, it does not go away, and individuals have to compensate.
For instance, if you are sensitive to noise, you can avoid working in noisy places such as malls. Other coping mechanisms include choosing a location that does not affect sensory input. For instance, a child that is oversensitive to smell can stay away from kitchens. Visually distracted children can face away from traffic to help them focus on what they are doing.
Some parents give their children fidget toys or sensory toolkits, which can include things like sunglasses.
4. What are the symptoms of sensory processing disorder?
SPD affects senses such as smell, hearing, taste, and touch. It can affect one of the senses or multiple senses. The symptoms exist in a spectrum, meaning that the degree varies with individuals. Some of the common symptoms of SPD include being clumsy, being picky with foods, having a low pain threshold, feeling that light is too bright, or sounds are too loud.
Some SPD symptoms are linked to poor motor skills, low muscle tone, and language delays.
5. How is sensory processing disorder treated?
Sensory processing disorder is treated through therapy. Early therapy is recommended, to effectively manage SPD. Occupational therapists employ a wide range of strategies such as sensory integration to help their patients manage SPD from their early stages of life.
Another approach used is a sensory diet which involves a set of school and home activities designed to help the child to remain focused and organized. This approach is customized based on individual needs.
In some cases, SPD doesn’t completely go away. However, it is possible to lead a normal life with it. Working with therapists will help your child learn how to react to certain stimuli for improved quality of life.