SPD Sensory Processing Dysfunction
When a child has sensory processing dysfunction or SPD, they sense their world far differently than someone without the disorder.The short definition of SPD is when a child’s sensory perception is either extra sensitive or under responsive. SPD has can affects all of the main senses, but also includes the sense of balance and input from the muscles and joints. Cases of SPD usually don’t affect all the senses.
People that endure tactile dysfunction will either be hypersensitive or hyposensitive to touch. Those that are hypersensitive can become upset and unnerved by certain textures and light physical contact. At the other end of the spectrum, hyposensitive people won’t notice minor injuries and craves touch.
Children with hypersensitive oral input dysfunction symptoms are often labeled as picky eaters. Hypersensitive tasters will often avoid foods with strong flavors such as sweet and spicy as opposed to hyposensitive tasters who seek out these flavors.
Auditory dysfunction can lead to children being extremely sensitive to various sounds and not being able to stand normal sounds to someone without SPD, such as vacuum cleaners or loud music and can’t hear differences in similar words. Symptoms for those who are hyposensitive include not being able to hear quieter sounds or being able to discern the source of sounds.
Visual dysfunction can affect shapes, colors and focus. Hypersensitivity to visual stimuli can result in a child being extra sensitive to bright lights and colors. Their attention is also easily drawn to small movements in the environment around them. Hyposensitivity can lead to a child not being able to discern between colors and shapes and having trouble tracking objects with the eyes.
To determine visual and auditory dysfunction, there must be no diagnosed hearing or visual conditions.
Some children with SPD also have trouble with movement and body position. Hypersensitive children can become panicked by the slightest change to balance avoiding things such as escalators or swings as well as being lifted up or pushed. Some children are not bothered by changes in balance and prefer extreme movement and the sensation of falling.
SPD can also affect the body’s ability to process muscle and joint input, leading a child to misjudge the force needed to complete a task or not being able tell the difference between the weight of different objects. This symptom can lead to the child accidently breaking objects or engaging in rough play that can hurt other children.