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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 physical therapist, 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
behavior when diagnosing sensory processing disorder.
Sensory integration therapy,
usually conducted by an occupational or physical therapist, 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 behaviors.
Current as of:
June 4, 2014
John Pope, MD - Pediatrics
& Fred Volkmar, MD - Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
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