Also known as SPD for short or SI(Sensory Integration) is a neurological disorder that causes complications with processing information from one or more of the five senses (sight, sound, touch, taste, or smell). For those with this SPD, the sensory information is received but is processed by the brain in an unusual was that may cause distress or confusion. Whenever you are doing something, eating, walking, riding a bike, or reading a book your successful completion of the task requires processing sensation or “sensory integration”. What seems like a simple task to some and we just do it, for a person with SPD it is a struggle, their sensory signals do not get organized into the appropriate responses. A person with SPD finds it difficult to complete simple daily tasks because they are unable to acts upon the signals received through the senses. Some of us have difficulty processing information at one time or another but for those with SPD these difficulties are chronic and disrupt everyday life.
As stated earlier SPD can affect one sense or a combination of more than one sense, it can be just touch for example or include touch and sound. However, sadly this disorder is often overlooked because physicians are not trained to recognize sensory issues.
The parent’s million dollar question …… Did I do something to cause this? Short and simple answer is no. Now, let me explain that. The exact cause of SPD is unknown as of right now, some studies show it could be heredity, while others say environmental factors play a role in SPD. As with other neurological disorder and behavior disorders, research suggests it is likely to be a combination of environmental and genetics.
So now how is it treated?
Once a child has been properly diagnosed with SPD, occupational therapy with a sensory integration approach is used. We have a therapist on staff that is SIPT certified. Our treatment plan is varied and addressed to each individual needs of the child. We work on supporting what the child already knows about the way their system processes. This is a complex disorder and as stated with our disorders there is not a “one-size-fits-all” plan. We may incorporate occupational therapy, along with sounds and a sensory approach therapy into a treatment plan.
A sensory-rich environment is important for successful treatment, at Kidswork, our center is very spacious and offers a variety of equipment used in focusing on movement and we have a number of tactile, visual and auditory opportunities. The most important thing is, not just a good therapist with the right tools, but also making it enjoyable, engaging and motivating for the child so they can progress. The child may swing, go through tunnels and obstacle courses, or even work on practical skills such as writing. While it sounds like play to you, the activities are designs to integrate your child’s senses to normal functioning.