What is Sensory Processing Disorder?
Sensory Integration Disorder often times also referred to as Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) is a disorder that describes processing in all sensations as it travels through the central nervous system.  There are various types of SPD.  A child may exhibit sensory discrimination issues in which they will have difficulty processing information from one or more of the five well-known "external" senses:    
               - vision
                - auditory
                - touch/skin
                - taste
                - smell
As well as the least known "internal" senses:
               - vestibular/gravitation
               - proprioception/body awareness
               - tactile/deep touch
The child can have normal sense receptors (i.e. vision and hearing are normal) but the information is processed differently in the brain. What does a child look like with a Sensory Discrimination Disorder? Click Here and read #8.
A child may also present with more lower level processing issues which will manifest itself more behaviorally such as with those presenting with sensory modulation and/or self-regulation difficulties.  This may be manifested (but not limited to) in a child that is anxious, fearful, impulsive, has poor response to people and difficulties engaging in their environment in a purposeful manner.
  • Sensory Integration therapy helps to facilitate the rewiring and/or the enhancement of the use of our  neurochemistry and neuro-circuitry needed for sensations to be processed effectively through each level of the central nervous system.  This can result in decreased or the elimination of distress, confusion, flight-fight responses, etc to develop a more organized central nervous system and therefore a child with more organized behaviors to efficiently acquire and utilize their developmental skills.
  • SPD can exist alone or it can exist with other neurobiological conditions such as Autism, PDD, attention deficit (hyperactive) disorders (ADHD), dyspraxia, dyslexia, etc.
  • In other words, in order to accurately interpret our environment and form appropriate responses to them, each level of the central nervous system must be able to send appropriate messages up to the next level and each sensory system need to be functioning properly by themselves and in conjunction with one another.  SPD is the ability to absorb sensory input, sort it out and respond to it appropriately.
The clinicians at OT for Kidz have earned national certifications in sensory integration along with additional extensive training in the area of sensory processing disorders. This include the use of but certainly not limited to the use of the SIPT (Sensory Integration Praxis Test) a standardized test.  Their evaluation are based upon various functional brain-based assessments & always the inclusion of clinical  observation and clinical reasoning that entails the understanding that the nervous system that controls behavior, cognition, language and motor skills should be assessed and treated at the level of the breakdown within the central nervous system.  Essentially this is based on the understanding that sensory information is processed from the lower part of the brain (the brainstem) to the top (the cortex and level of skills) which will then determine how well the child is able to modulate, regulate and discriminate. This allows the child to develop an internal "sense of self" and develop adequate skills to perform every day home and school activities. 
The ability to integrate our senses are the building blocks needed to acquire functional social, motor, language and academic skills and therefore children lacking efficient skills in these area may benefit from sensory integration therapy.  Often times it may be used in conjunction with other therapies which is specific to each child needs. Read some research...click here.
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