Sensory processing and sensory integration describe how our brains organize internal and external sensations and make sense of the world around us. We learn and move with our senses. Did you know we have at least seven senses? Vision, hearing, touch, smell, taste, as well as proprioception (our sense of movement) and our vestibular sense (our sense of balance).
A child, youth or adult with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) finds it difficult to process information received from their seven senses and then act appropriately with that information. This processing disorder challenges a person’s ability to perform everyday tasks – from waking up in the morning and brushing teeth to riding the bus, sitting at work, eating supper and going to sleep. If Sensory Processing Disorder is not diagnosed and treated effectively, a wide variety of symptoms may result: clumsiness, behavioural problems, acting out, severe withdrawal, anxiety, depression, difficulties in the classroom, at work or at home.
Sensory Processing Disorder, also known as “sensory integration dysfunction”, occurs when messages from the seven senses do not get organized into the right responses from the brain and body. Famous, pioneering occupational therapist and neuroscientist A. Jean Ayres, PhD, called Sensory Processing Disorder a neurological “traffic jam”. SPD prevents the brain from receiving and acting on sensory information in the right or best way, as though the brain gets stuck in sensory traffic and can’t find the best or most appropriate way out.
Symptoms of Sensory Processing Disorder, like most disorders, can occur within a broad spectrum from little impact to severe difficulty. Some individuals have a few sensory processing problems while others have sensory processing problems in all areas.
Many of us have occasional difficulty processing sensory information – perhaps during a stressful period in our lives – but given sufficient time we will overcome the challenge. For children and adults with Sensory Processing Disorder, these difficulties are chronic and they disrupt everyday life.
Over-or under-sensitivity to the senses and motor clumsiness are hallmarks of Sensory Processing Disorder.
Sensory preferences are not considered Sensory Processing Disorder. The difference? If you dislike the smell or taste of mint, for example, that is a preference. If the smell or taste of mint makes you vomit, this may be an indication that you have a Sensory Processing Disorder.
How prevalent are Sensory Processing Disorders? Estimates indicate that 1 in every 20 children experience symptoms of SPD that are significant enough to affect their ability to participate fully in everyday life at home and at school.
Sensory Processing Disorders are often experienced by individuals who are gifted, have a learning disability or an autism spectrum disorder. SPD is not linked to, nor is it a measure of, intelligence.
Occupational Therapy Strategies to Manage Sensory Processing Disorders
During the past 20 years, my team of Occupational Therapists and I have worked with thousands of clients and their families, introducing them to occupational therapy strategies to either overcome or manage their Sensory Processing Disorders. Occupational therapy assessment and treatment make a positive difference in the daily lives of individuals and their families who struggle with the challenges of SPD.
For parents and siblings who have a family member with SPD or teachers who have a student with SPD, the eBook Sensory and Behaviour: Strategies provides numerous strategies, insight and solutions to better understand and deal with SPD. In writing this eBook, I’ve drawn on my 20 years of experience as an Occupational Therapist.
In every SPD case I’ve overseen, the most effective approach was (and still is) to be a problem-solving, sensory “detective”. First seek to understand the problem and the triggers and then apply the correct sensory-behaviour approach for success.
This is where the eBook Sensory and Behaviour: Strategies provides the guidance, strategies and solutions you have been searching for. Whether you or your child faces the challenges of over-sensitivity, under-sensitivity and/or motor clumsiness, you’ll find dozens of strategies throughout the book. Each of the 11 chapters zeros in on a specific topic and offers solutions for numerous situations in which you may find yourself and your child. From learning to holiday stress relievers and behaviour strategies and more, you’ll have a front row seat to the best solutions gleaned from my 20 years’ experience as an Occupational Therapist.
Chapter 1: WAKE up! settle down, or ATTEND using 7 Senses
PART 1: WAKE up! Activities
Chapter 2: WAKE up! settle down, or ATTEND using 7 Senses
PART 2: settle down Activities
Chapter 3: WAKE up! settle down, or ATTEND using 7 Senses
PART 3: activities to ATTEND
Chapter 4: Optimize Learning for Children at Home, in the Classroom and in Life Part 1: 10 Sensory Steps to Take
Chapter 5: Optimize Learning for Children at Home, in the Classroom and in Life Part 2: 10 Behaviour Steps to Take
Chapter 6: 12 Amazing Ways for Children to Relax and De-Stress
Chapter 7: Your Family’s New Best Friend: Heavy Muscle Work in 27 Ways
Chapter 8: Beyond 20/20 Vision: Use the Visual System to Help Your Child Develop Motor Skills
Chapter 9: Winter Gross Motor Fun for Children and Adults Too
Chapter 10: Holiday-time Stress-less Sensory Solutions for Your Family
Chapter 11: 30 BEST Sensory-Motor-Behaviour Strategies for Children to Love Travelling
As you are well aware, a child with sensory processing challenges can interrupt a classroom or family a little or a lot. Whether you are looking for strategies to get your family on an even keel, tips to help manage your classroom or access help for someone who actually has a sensory processing disorder, the Sensory and Behaviour Strategies eBook will help.