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What Is Sensory Processing Disorder?

Our brains and bodies have nerves that collect information from our surroundings and process it within our sensory systems. The sensors then translate that information into a feeling through the five human senses. When one of the sensors is non-functional, it becomes hard to display the right feelings or senses based on the surrounding.

This condition is known as the sensory processing disorder. It is a common condition affecting many people globally, with the majority of them being children. This article provides in-depth information on this condition to help you know more about it. Please keep reading to learn more.

Sensory Processing Disorder Explained

Sensory processing disorder affects the nervous system, making it hard for one to respond to changes in the surrounding environment. People with this disorder have difficulty responding in a manner scientists have defined as normal.

Normal, while a relative term, would generally define a frequency of sound or light, that the vast population is well adapted to. People with SPD would react abnormally to that range.

There are two main types of sensory procession disorder: hyposensitivity and hypersensitivity. Hyposensitivity refers to a lack of reaction to a situation that would normally be expected. Loud sounds, bright lights, horrific smells all may pass with little or no reaction to a hyposensitive person. Something commonly seen in hyposensitive kids is a high threshold for pain.

Hypersensitivity, which is also known as oversensitivity, is the opposite of hyposensitivity. People with this hypersensitivity often react to stimuli in a heightened manner while confronting a situation that would typically call for much less. Something as simple as a knock at the door or bedroom lights being turned on, may elicit a show of panic.

The Signs and Symptoms

People with sensory processing disorders show a myriad of symptoms. Here are the main symptoms of hypersensitivity and hyposensitivity.

Hypersensitivity – children/adults with this issue tend to avoid overcrowded places, loud noises, heavy clothiers, or certain food smells and tastes. They may be bothered by bright light, and they might also not enjoy hugging or the company of many people due to the irritations they get.

Hyposensitivity – people with this condition constantly need a sensory trigger. They touch different things more often, take physical risks, and may not like isolated places. They are always on the move in noisy environments.

Causes of Sensory Processing Disorder

Up to date, health experts have not yet identified the exact cause of sensory processing disorder. However, reports from multiple experiments suggest that the condition is genetic. Other studies show that the condition is triggered by excessive exposure to sound and light when the child is still young. The condition may also be caused by stroke and other health conditions.

How to Deal With Sensory Processing Disorder

Now that you know the basics of the sensory processing disorder, it’s also important you know how to handle it. The first step is seek the support of a specialist. While there may not be proven medications, the specialists can recommend a reliable therapist. The right therapist should offer specialized care depending on the current condition of the victim. Most therapy session lasts for 20 minutes, and the number of sessions depends on the person’s age and the severity of the condition. All you have to do is provide detailed information of when you noticed the symptoms and answer the other questions that the doctor asks.

Seek Professional Help

Sensory processing disorder may be a stressful condition, but the good thing is that it’s manageable. Don’t suffer in silence; find reputable occupational therapists to examine you and get the help you need.

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