What is a Sensory Disorder?

What is a Sensory Disorder?

What is a Sensory Disorder?  That is the honest question I continue to hear from my interested friends and family.  If you aren’t a sensory parent, you might be oblivious to the challenges of many children around you.   According to WebMD,

Sensory Processing Disorder is a condition in which the brain has trouble receiving and responding to information that comes in through the senses. The condition used to be called sensory integration dysfunction. Some people with sensory processing disorder are oversensitive to things in their environment.”

It is a wide, wide spectrum and I believe you most likely will notice that you exhibit some sensory behaviors.  Do you bite the inside of your mouth (my husband), smell your hair (me), panic in crowded loud places (my son) or HATE brushing your teeth or hair (my daughter)?  If yes, then you too may have a sensory disorder.  The difference is you and I and even my 3rd grader have learned how to manage these behaviors.

The Out-of-Sync-Child, a must-read book, explains:

“Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) can cause a bewildering variety of symptoms.  When their central nervous systems are ineffective in processing sensory information, children have a hard time functioning in daily life.  They may look fine and have superior intelligence, but may be awkward, fearful and withdrawn or hostile and aggressive.”

There are many Occupational Therapists that work with kids and offer “Sensory Diets” or activities (such as trampoline jumping, drinking through a straw, carrying heavy items) that can help the child learn to regulate their bodies.

Of course every child is different and this frequently misdiagnosed problem can be complex.  I believe awareness is the first step for parents, teachers, doctors and professionals to understand this disorder.

Do you have experience with Sensory Disorders?  Do you have any information or advice to add?  I am still learning and love all the support and suggestions. 

You might also be interested in reading; My child is not a bad kid, she has a sensory disorder, my yoga breathing helps my daughter sleep and can kids bring their blanket to overnight camp? 

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