About Sensory Processing Disorder
Your pre-schooler screams in pain at the sound of a fire engine. Your toddler resists any hugs. Your grade schooler has severe difficulty with handwriting. These are all symptoms of a neurological condition called sensory processing disorder in which difficulty processing sensory information overwhelms a person’s daily life.
Not all doctors believe that sensory processing disorder exists because it is not yet listed in all diagnostic manuals. New research, however, including a study by Davies and Gavin in 2007, lends physiologic evidence to the diagnosis.
According to the Sensory Processing Disorder Foundation, symptoms of the disorder differ based on age and the senses affected. In some children, a straightforward symptom like refusing to eat foods of a certain texture might be experienced. In other cases, behavioral issues like explosive outbursts might be the primary symptom.
Currently, diagnosis is usually made by an occupational therapist after interviews, screening and testing. A physician can also make the diagnosis, which can aid in insurance coverage for treatment.
Occupational therapists have been treating sensory processing disorder for decades and a recent study from Lucy Jane Miller et al. gave empirical evidence that this approach appears to help.
People with sensory processing disorder may also benefit from physical therapy, listening therapy or brushing therapy.