Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)
Every moment each of our senses send a continuous flow of information to the brain about our bodies and our environment. “Sensory processing” is a term used to describe how the brain manages and makes sense of all of this sensory information. During sensory processing the brain takes in, filters, interprets, organizes, and uses information from the senses. In doing this, sensory processing lays the foundation for us to feel comfortable, attentive, and emotionally regulated throughout the day, as well as to develop the skills needed to perform necessary tasks during the day. The senses include touch, hearing, sight, smell, and taste, in addition to two other less known movement senses: the proprioceptive sense (body information) and the vestibular sense (movement information).
Sensory processing disorder (SPD) occurs when there is a “glitch” in sensory processing, with problems in understanding, filtering, responding to, and/or using sensory information. Although SPD is an often unrecognized condition, it is estimated to occur in 1 in 20 children in this country. SPD may be present from infancy through adulthood. Occupational therapy is an effective intervention for sensory processing and sensori-motor related difficulties at all ages.