'This feels scratchy!'

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Gemma's parents are at their wits’ end.  She is constantly complaining about the labels in her clothes scratching her or that her socks are lumped up in her shoes.  She doesn't eat most foods because they taste ‘funny’ and spits out anything that isn't pulverised like baby food. 

Give her a box of Lego, however, and she can build the most ingenious structures for her age. 

What is sensory processing disorder?

Gemma has sensory processing disorder (SPD), an umbrella term that covers a number of disabilities.  What's common to all of them is that information received through the senses is not properly processed.

This means that children with SPD either over-respond or under-respond to sensory information (such as the feeling of mud between their toes) or they obsessively seek it out (stare at bright lights, spin in circles constantly, etc.).

Symptoms of SPD

The symptoms for SPD vary depending on the child. Here is a brief list for the three main types of SPD:

ADHD or SPD?

When you read through these symptoms you will notice that many of them overlap with other learning disabilities such as ADHD or speech and language problems.  They may even simply have an allergy or nutritional deficiencies and not SPD at all.

The key trait of SPD is that the child has unusual responses to being touched and when they touch other things, and also to moving or being moved around.  If your child under or over-responds to these two things, then it he/she may have SPD and should be taken for an evaluation.

Reading List
  1. The Out-of-Sync Child by Carol Stock Kranowitz
  2. Growing an In-Sync Child by Carol Stock Kranowitz
Read more about how to handle your child if he or she has sensory processing disorder.

What have been your experiences with sensory processing disorder? Share with us below.

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