Sensory Processing Disorder

Sensory processing is considered to be an internal process of the nervous system which helps us receive, organize and understand sensory information from both the environment (auditory and visual input as well as taste and smell) and from within our bodies (touch, movement and joint receptors).

This then helps us know how to respond to the environmental demands. Efficient sensory processing is needed to enable us to participate fully in everyday life and to adequately engage in our daily routines and roles.

'Sensory processing disorder' is a condition in which the brain has trouble receiving and responding to information that comes in through the senses.

Signs and Symptoms:

The child will show some of the following symptoms:

  • May seem to be in constant motion, is unable to sit still for an activity
  • Has trouble focusing or concentrating, can’t stay on a task
  • Seems to be always running, jumping, stomping rather than walking
  • Bumps into things or frequently knocks things over
  • Reacts strongly to being bumped or touched
  • Avoids messy play and doesn’t like to get hands dirty
  • Hates grooming activities such as, brushing of teeth and hair, cutting of hair or nails etc
  • Resists wearing new clothing and is bothered by tags, socks or new textures
  • Distressed by loud or sudden sounds such as a siren or a vacuum
  • Has poor fine motor skills such as writing and cutting, difficulty with buttons and tying shoelaces
  • Has poor gross motor skills such as body co-ordination, riding a bike, swimming, running
  • Hesitates to play or climb on playground equipment
  • Difficulties with balance
  • Difficulty with eyes tracking of objects and often loses place when reading or copying from board
  • Marked mood variations and tendency for outbursts and tantrums
  • Avoids eye contact
  • Has trouble following and remembering a 2 to 3 step instruction
  • Fussy eater, often gags on food
  • Reacts to smells not noticed by others
  • Often lethargic or low arousal (appears to be tired/slow to respond, all the time, even after a nap)
  • Not aware of when they get hurt (no crying, startle, or reaction to injury)
  • Having a hard time calming themselves down appropriately, difficult to settle and hard to put to sleep