How An Occupational Therapist Can Help With Sensory Processing Disorder

A sensory processing disorder in therapist Chicago IL

What is Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)?

Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) is a condition in which the brain has trouble receiving and responding to information that comes in through the senses. The sensory system is comprised of our sense of smell, taste, touch, sight, and hearing. In addition we have two more "unknown senses". These are our sense of proprioception and vestibular sense. Proprioception and vestibular, which are a part of the sensory system, are often referred to as the “unknown senses”. The proprioceptive sense helps your body understand where it is in space, as well as how much force is needed to move your body within your environment. The vestibular sense refers to your body’s ability to understand how fast it is moving and helps to maintain balance. SPD can cause a person to be either over responsive or under responsive to sensory stimuli.

Sensory Diet For SPD

A sensory diet can be useful to help a child with SPD stay in a regulated state throughout the day, as well as cope when they become dysregulated. A child who is over responsive to touch may find certain clothing fabrics to be uncomfortable. A child who is sensitive to noises may be seen to cover their ears to noises that seem novel to others. Those with food aversions may be over responsive to taste or smell. Those who are under responsive to proprioceptive input may enjoy crashing or falling. Finally, those with difficulty regulating vestibular input may be seen to have “on the go” tendencies, or prefer to not move very much at all.

OT Support For SPD Parents

To accommodate SPD, an occupational therapist will work alongside parents and children to develop a tailored sensory diet to each child’s specific needs. No two children have the same sensory needs; therefore, no two sensory diets will look the same.

Blog Post By: Melissa Melnick, MOT, OTR/L

Attributed Resource: Super Duper Publications: Using a “Sensory Diet” with Children with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) by Amber Swearingen, MOT, OTR/L

.Please watch the insight video below, to experience a child's view of sensory processing disorder: