Our brain is an information-processing device. It takes in information through our senses, determines what that information means, and directs the rest of the body to perform specific tasks. Sometimes the information received from our senses is confusing and disorienting.
Sensory processing difficulties can pose challenges in performing everyday activities. These difficulties can interfere with the ability to learn, play, work, socialize, and behave appropriately (Schaff & Smith Roley, 2006). Sensory processing and modulation disorders often lead people to have extreme over reactions to what others consider mild stimuli, or to completely shut down and disengage. Differences in interpretation of stimuli can impact motor skills and coordination, further limiting engagement and participation.
Without intervention, difficulties with sensory processing continue into adulthood and have been reported to impact work performance, relationships, and general functional abilities.
Occupational Therapy utilizing a sensory processing approach encourages sensory rich play by using balls, sand and water toys, slides, swings, finger paints, and magnets, allowing children to use their senses to incorporate smell, touch, sound, vision, and movement.
Occupational Therapists at SPS combine brain-plasticity programming such as iLs and Interactive Metronome to remediate sensory processing difficulties.
Sensory Processing Checklist – adapted from The Sensory Processing Measure (SPM), 2007 Does your child:
- Seem bothered by bright light (squinting, blinks, cries etc.)?
- Close one eye or tip head back when looking at something?
- Enjoy watching objects spin or move more than other peers?
- Walk into objects or people as if they were not there?
- Flip light switches on and off repeatedly?
- Seem bothered by ordinary sounds, such as a vacuum cleaner or toilet flushing?
- Respond negatively to loud noises by running away, crying or holding hands over their ears?
- Appear not to hear certain sounds?
- Seem easily distracted by sounds not noticed by other people?
- Pull away from being touched?
- Become distressed by the feel of clothes?
- Have an unusually high tolerance for pain or enjoy things that should be painful like crashing themselves onto the floor or hitting their own body?
- Bump or push other children?
- Grasp objects too hard or too loosely so it is difficult to use the object?
- Tend to pet animals with too much force?
- Seem excessively fearful of movements?
- Show poor coordination or appear clumsy?