with sensory processing disorder have difficulty processing information
from the senses (touch, movement, smell, taste, vision, and hearing) and
responding appropriately to that information. These children typically have one
or more senses that either over- or underreact to stimulation. Sensory processing disorder can cause problems with a child's development and
autism and other
developmental disabilities often have sensory processing disorder. But sensory processing disorder can also be
associated with premature birth, brain injury, learning disorders, and other
exact cause of sensory processing disorder is not known. It is commonly
seen in people with autism,
Asperger's syndrome, and other developmental
disabilities. Most research suggests that people with autism have irregular
brain function. More study is needed to determine the cause of these
irregularities, but current research indicates they may be inherited.
Children with sensory processing disorder cannot properly process sensory stimulation from the
outside world. Your child may:
health professional, often an occupational or physiotherapist, will evaluate
your child by observing his or her responses to sensory stimulation, posture,
balance, coordination, and eye movements. While many children have a few of the
symptoms described above, your health professional will look for a pattern of
behaviour when diagnosing sensory processing disorder.
Sensory integration therapy,
usually conducted by an occupational or physiotherapist, is often
recommended for children who have sensory processing disorder. It focuses on
activities that challenge the child with sensory input. The therapist then
helps the child respond appropriately to this sensory stimulus.
Therapy might include applying deep touch pressure to a child's skin with
the goal of allowing him or her to become more used to and process being
touched. Also, play such as tug-of-war or with heavy objects, such as a
medicine ball, can help increase a child's awareness of her or his own body in
space and how it relates to other people.
Although it has not
been widely studied, many therapists have found that sensory integration
therapy improves problem behaviours.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerJohn Pope, MD - PediatricsThomas M. Bailey, MD - Family MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerFred Volkmar, MD - Child and Adolescent PsychiatryLouis Pellegrino, MD - Developmental Pediatrics
Current as ofJuly 26, 2016
Current as of:
July 26, 2016
John Pope, MD - Pediatrics
& Thomas M. Bailey, MD - Family Medicine & Fred Volkmar, MD - Child and Adolescent Psychiatry & Louis Pellegrino, MD - Developmental Pediatrics
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2017 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.