In order to understand SPD ,
we need to understand the purpose of our senses.
Our senses allow us to experience and respond to our environment.
To experience a sunset we look at it.
If we smell smoke we respond by getting out of the building.
When our senses are working properly together they protect us and
allow us to enjoy our surroundings. The
five senses most of us are familiar with are:
Touch - tactile
Taste – oral
Two senses we may not be
familiar with are:
These seven senses work
together to help us understand and maneuver within our environment.
For example to open a door:
We look at it- visual
We place our hand on the
doorknob- visual and tactile perception.
We squeeze the doorknob
(not to hard or to soft) and turn it- tactile, proprioceptive
We pull open the door
(not to hard or to soft) – vestibular, proprioceptive, visual, and
(If the door has a
squeaky hinge we hear that as we are opening it – auditory
We walk through the
doorway, stepping over the door jam- visual, vestibular, and
Sensory Processing Disorder
is a condition that causes a person’s body to misinterpret sensory
information they receive from the environment.
One or more of a person’s senses may be over or under reactive to
sensory information. Because
their senses are not working properly together, a person with SPD has
difficulty responding to their environment effectively. If the brain
is receiving inaccurate sensory information when walking through a door
you suspect your child may have sensory processing dysfunction it is essential
that you have them evaluated by an Occupational Therapist trained in sensory
processing disorder. They will help you to start Sensory Integration
A close working relationship with
an occupational therapist (OT) is essential to administering an effective program.
A child’s therapist will have good ideas for adapting an activity or
challenging a child appropriately. They
will be aware of behaviors and signals to watch for with a child.
They can evaluate progress and give suggestions to keep a child
a comprehensive questionnaire on SPD:
find a knowledgeable Occupational Therapist contact the American
Occupational Therapist Association: