Sensory processing disorder and sensory integration dysfunction occur when children have difficulty processing normal information from the senses (sound, sight, smell, taste, touch and hearing). The exact cause is not known, but this is commonly seen in children with autism or Asperger’s disorder as well as other developmental disabilities.
Symptoms can include, but not limited to:
- Withdrawing when touched
- Oversensitivity to odors
- Refusal to eat certain foods due to the feel
- Hypersensitivity to certain fabrics
- Appearing clumsy
- Having difficulty calming oneself
- Being overly sensitive to sound and much more
School-aged children may require therapy using a sensory integration approach to support educational needs as well as life skills and community-based needs. In addition to providing interventions that remediate the sensory integration issues influencing behaviors in the classroom, physical therapists can also make modifications to the classroom environment in order to assist children in participating and progressing at school, playing, making friends, and focusing in order to learn. Examples might be managing sensory information during school routines like riding the school bus, tolerating smells and noise in the cafeteria, and playing on the playground with others.
Adolescents and young adults may benefit from strategies that help individuals understand their own sensory processing systems and the impact on leisure activities, vocational choices, and relationships. Individuals whose participation in everyday activities is limited because they are fearful of movement, sensitive to touch, or unaware of body position in space and have not had the opportunity to use their bodies to effectively explore the sensory (proprioceptive, tactile, vestibular) and physical environment may also benefit from occupational therapy using this frame of reference.
Adults transitioning into lifelong work and leisure experiences may need the help of a physical therapist in identifying and supporting successful strategies in these areas. This would include addressing social-emotional needs as individual ages. Sensory integration and sensory processing interventions have also shown promise in working with adults with identified sensory defensiveness.
How TherapyWorks Can Help
If it is suspected that someone is having sensory processing issues, our therapists first complete a thorough evaluation to determine where your child is having the most difficulties. Our therapists then coordinate fun and interactive activities that engage sensory inputs to challenge and successfully organize responses. Over time, this improves the ability to process sensations more normally and engage in a happy, productive lifestyle. For more information, Contact Us Today at Lawrence, KS Center.