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Sensory Processing Disorder and Children with Autism

Introduction

(used synonymously with Sensory Integration Disorder)

Sensory processing refers to our ability to take in information through our senses (touch, movement, smell, taste, vision, and hearing), organize and interpret that information, and make a meaningful response.  For most people, this process is automatic.  We hear someone talking to us, our brains receive that input and recognizes it as a voice talking in a normal tone, and we respond appropriately.

Children who have a Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), however, don't experience such interactions in the same way.  SPD affects the way their brains interpret the information that comes in; it also affects how they respond to that information with emotional, motor, and other reactions.  For example, some children are over-responsive to sensation and feel as if they're being constantly bombarded with sensory information.  They may try to eliminate or minimize this perceived sensory overload by avoiding being touched or being particular about clothing.  Some children are under-responsive and have an almost insatiable desire for sensory stimulation.  They may seek out constant stimulation by taking part in extreme activities, playing music loudly, or moving constantly.  They sometimes don't notice pain or objects that are too hot or cold, and may need high intensity input to get involved in activities.  Still others have trouble distinguishing between different types of sensory stimulation.

If you think that you or someone else might have Sensory Processing Disorder, in addition to an autism spectrum disorder, you may opt for an evaluation by an occupational therapist who specializes in the field.

Related Sites

Sensory Processing Disorder Foundation
Description:  As the leader in Sensory Processing Disorder research, education and advocacy, the SPD Foundation offers an abundance of services and programs for professionals, parents, and anyone interested in knowing more about the sensory challenges that affect children academically, socially, and/or in their emotional development.

Raising a Sensory Smart Child
Description:  This web site delivers the basics regarding SPD including articles, practical solutions, and monthly tips.

Self-Regulation and Sensory? What is the Link? What can Help?
Description:  This site offers a wide variety of topics relating to sensory function helping kids on the autism spectrum cope with their lives at school and in their daily living.

Sensory Processing Disorder Resource Center
Description:  This site provides a wealth of information regarding SPD, from symptoms, to treatment, to products.

Books

Almost Autism: Recovering Children from Sensory Processing Disorder: A Reference for Parents and Practitioners by Maria Rickert Hong
Description:  This book is the perfect reference guide for parents and practitioners addressing Sensory Processing Disorders. The author details her own personal experience of recovering her two children who didn’t quite have autism but instead a SPD. She outlines the underlying biomedical causes and the necessary steps on how to treat the biomedical issues involved in SPD in order to achieve full recovery.

The Sensory Processing Disorder Answer Book: Practical Answers to the Top 250 Questions Parents Ask by Tara Delaney
Description:  The Sensory Processing Disorder Answer Book is a unique reference guide for parents because it includes over 250 commonly asked questions about SPD with easy-to-understand answers and responses which will assist families and their affected children.

101 Games and Activities for Children with Autism, Asperger’s and Sensory Processing Disorders by Tara Delaney
Description:  This book promotes learning through movement by providing many fun and interactive ideas.

Sensational Kids: Hope and Help for Children With Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) by Lucy Jane Miller and Janice Roetenberg
Description:  Sensational Kids is a great guide for parents who struggle with their child(ren) diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). The book provides a comprehensive understanding of the disorder along with some practical suggestions for parents, clinicians and teachers. The author has 40 years of experience and research regarding SPD.

No Longer A SECRET: Unique Common Sense Strategies for Children with Sensory or Motor Challenges by Doreit Bialer and Lucy Jane Miller
Description:  No Longer A SECRET is a great handbook for parents, teachers or clinicians assisting children with sensory or sensory motor issues. The important tips and strategies found in this book are functional and not too costly. The reader will find this book has the latest resources for all families and instructors and the kids enjoy what they are doing.

Tools

Sensory Learning Locations
Description:  Find a sensory learning location or program in your state.

Complete Guide to Sensory Processing Disorder
Description:  This site is a good tool for Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). Learn about SPD terminology, find blogs and resources, and find out which particular exercise or activity is right for your child's sensory processing difficulties.

Sensory Fun
Description:  Provides a listing of ways to help children with different SPD issues.

Sensory Processing Disorder Checklist
Description:  This link shows a Sensory Processing Disorder Checklist: Signs And Symptoms Of Dysfunction.

Therapy Shoppe
Description:  This site provides useful tools for SPD.

Parent Forums/Blogs

Some forums require you to sign in to Yahoo or Facebook to locate forum names.

Forum/Blog Name:  Help Loved Ones with Sensory Overload Enjoy Shopping
Description:  Reducing noise for children or adults with autism is very important. Many have sound sensitivities that can create sensory overload. Learn about solutions to sound sensitivity and how to help your child so everyone can enjoy shopping.

Forum/Blog Name:  SPD Support
Description:  Support and resources for SPD families.

Forum/Blog Name:  Sensory Integration Disorder Support Group
Description:  Support group for individuals affected by SPD.

Forum/Blog Name:  Sensory Processing Disorder Parent Support
Description:  Facebook support group for parents of children with SPD.