Sensory 101- Making Sense of Sensory

Did you know that one out of twenty people in the general population may be affected by Sensory Processing Disorder?

Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) is a disorder of the brain that affects developing children and adults. Sensory processing disorder is multifaceted. SPD affects social skills, cognitive thinking, self control, self esteem and motor skills. It is the inability to identify, interpret and respond to a sensory input. Imagine someone is clicking the top of a pen (to create a clicking noise), people with SPD can respond in a broad range of emotions; on one side, they can have zero response to the stimuli of a pen clicking and on the other side, they can feel as if the pen is physically clicking in their mind/on their skin which could induce rage. People with SPD may experience sensations in taste, touch, sound, body movement, smell and body awareness that differ from others without SPD. The most prevalent cases are found in children who are gifted, children with ADHD, children with Autism, and Fragile X Syndrome. However, children and adults in the general population are also affected by this. Children (and adults) with SPD are often thrown into situations that become overwhelming and have difficulty navigating through them. These same children are often criticized and mocked for being unable to cope appropriately in certain situations. If you are new to the world of sensory, there is a lot of information that can often be baffling. Information on Sensory Processing Disorder and difficulties with sensory are often hidden and not as easily accessible as it should be. You can find a multitude of information on Autism, ADHD and even Fragile X Syndrome, yet it is difficult to find support in the area of sensory.

What are some early indications and signs of Sensory Processing Disorder at all ages?

Infants and Toddlers early indicators may be refusing to go to anyone but one person (usually a parent/guardian), difficulty when being dressed and regularly uncomfortable in clothes, difficulty eating and sleeping, significant motor delays which can often resemble a stiff or extra relaxed body, or rarely playing with toys. Elementary aged children can experience the following early indicators of SPD: oversensitivity of the five senses (touch, smell, taste, noise, sight), difficulty making friends, continuation of poor motor skills, heightened temper tantrums that continue for a long duration of time, in constant motion with disregard to personal space or boundaries, easily fidgety, distracted and overwhelmed, handwriting difficulties and unaware of pain or overly aggressive. Early indicators of SPD in adolescents and adults are poor self-esteem, oversensitivity of the five senses, leaving tasks uncompleted, difficulty staying focused at work, in meetings, in schools, impulsive and easily distracted, afraid of failing at a new task and incredibly lethargic and slow.

How can Sensory make a difference for a person of any age struggling with SPD?

The research shows that the best treatment requires no medication; instead it requires a targeted, systematic approach of sensory therapy that hones in on that individual’s specific sensory need. We need to focus our sensory approach specific to who the individual is and what they need. Whether it be weighted supplies like blankets, clothing, and lap seats to reduce anxiety or sensory chewable items like sticks, necklaces or bracelets to aid in oral-seeking sensation behavior, here at Sensory Space, you will be able to see various products that are used for both sensory fun and for functionality purposes.

How to determine which sensory products are right for you and your family?

First and foremost, each individual with Sensory Processing Disorder is unique. There is a not a one size fits all program. Determining which senses are over-or- under sensitive is crucial to integrating sensory tools and resources. Choosing certain products for fun or functionality purposes can be difficult and overwhelming to say the least. Sensory Space was created as a safe, friendly, family oriented place to learn about the in’s and out’s of sensory. We are here to help find the most up-to-date, research based products that can help make the most of your sensory needs.

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