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