Tom and Courtney noticed something different about their daughter, Haley, by the time she [...]
Sensory Processing Disorder: What is Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)
This disorder has been historically referred to as Sensory Integration Dysfunction, but in recent years the name has been adjusted (not without controversy in the medical community). Sensory Processing Disorder can lead to sensorimotor problems and learning difficulties in children. It refers to the way the brain receives and processes sensory information from the body and its environment and how it creates an appropriate behavioral and motor response. No matter what activity in which an individual is engaging, it requires processing sensation or “sensory integration”. With this disorder, signals do not get organized into appropriate responses.
Dr. Jane Ayers was a pioneer in the 1960’s in what was then called Sensory Integration Dysfunction. She discovered that sensory information can be received by people with SPD, the difference is that information is often registered, interpreted and processed differently by the brain. This results in unusual responses or behaviors, finding things harder to do. Difficulties may typically present as struggles planning and organizing tasks, problems accomplishing the activities of everyday life (self care, work and leisure activities), and for some with extreme sensitivity, sensory input could be observed by extreme avoidance of activities, agitation, emotional distress, confusion, or fear.
Sensory Processing Disorder and Brain Function:
Symptoms can begin to become evident during infancy, hence the term “floppy baby”. Parents also worry when their child is deemed a “klutz” or “spaz.” Many times the child seems to be in perpetual overdrive, and AD/HD is a common misdiagnosis. SPD involves a series of neurological disorders that effect normal brain function, inhibiting development of the person’s communication and social interaction skills. People with SPD have issues with verbal and non-verbal communication, a wide range of social interactions, and sometimes academic performance is significantly affected. With the qEEG or Brain Map as an assessment tool, Dallas Brain Changers can see the electrical activity of the brain. We can then determine where and how the dysregulation occurs, allowing us to develop treatment protocols to put the brain back into balance without medication.
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Sensory Processing Disorder and Symptoms:
Sensory Processing Disorder is a common comorbid disorder found with Autism Spectrum Disorders.
There are 3 Types of SPD that are found either independently or occurring concurrently:
Type I – Sensory Modulation Disorder (SMD): Over or under responding to sensory stimuli or seeking sensory stimulation. This group may include a fearful and/or anxious pattern of thought and behavior, including negative and/or stubborn behaviors, self-absorbed behaviors that make it difficult to engage, or behaviors which cause the sufferer to creatively or actively seek sensation.
Type II – Sensory Based Motor Disorder (SBMD): Shows motor output that is disorganized as a result of incorrect processing of sensory information affecting postural control challenges and/or dyspraxia.
Type III – Sensory Discrimination Disorder (SDD): Sensory discrimination or incorrect processing of sensory information. Incorrect processing of visual or auditory input, for example, may be seen in inattentiveness, disorganization, and poor school performance.
This information is adapted from research and publications by: Lucy, J. Miller, Ph.D., OTR, Marie Anzalone, Sc.D., OTR, Sharon A. Cermak, Ed.D., OTR/L, Shelly J. ,Lane, Ph.D, OTR, Beth Osten, M.S,m OTR/L, Serena Wieder, Ph.D., Stanley I. Greenspan, M.D.
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Sensory Processing Disorder: SPD Case Study
Tom and Courtney noticed something different about their daughter, Haley, by the time she was 3 months old. They began the rounds of pediatricians, neurologists, brain scans, MRI’s and X-rays. After every test came the intolerable waiting period to hopefully answer the question, “What’s wrong with our daughter, and how can we help her?” Over and over again, they came back empty handed with more questions and without answers.
Finally by age 4, Haley was referrred to an Occupational Therapist, who began working with her and providing results. She worked with the therapist for a few years when the therapist discovered and suggested Neurofeedback. By this time, the emotional toll on the family was great, as there were two older children who Tom and Courtney felt they had not been able to provide the much needed time and attention. So, the family entered a program that combines neurofeedback and counseling. By this time Haley was 7 years old and had improved cognitively and developmentally as a result of the OT. After 9 months of treatment, Haley is still behind her peers, but she has improved dramatically from when she first began Neurofeedback therapy. Her mom, dad, and her siblings have a better understanding of what Sensory Processing Disorder is and how it has presented in Haley. Tom and Courtney feel better equipped to help Haley, as well as take care of their own needs. The other children are more encouraging and understanding of their sister’s condition, and the entire family is functioning more effectively as a unit!
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