Imagine wearing a piece of sandpaper down the back of your shirt… or trying to eat your lunch next to a hot garbage can… or trying to walk across a room during an earthquake.
No – you are not a contestant on a television show, you are experiencing a slice of life as a child with sensory integration dysfunction, also known as sensory processing disorder.
For the estimated 1 in 20 children affected by sensory integration dysfunction, life can be much like what was described above… and sometimes worse. Inundated by sensory information all day, most children develop motor planning abilities that enable them to appropriately adapt and respond to the sights, sounds, smells, movement and other sensations around them. Children with sensory integration dysfunction (DSI/SPD) react differently to sensory information and are often overwhelmed by this information, experience developmental delays and have difficulty with daily living skills.
“Unfortunately, some children with sensory integration dysfunction are misdiagnosed with other disorders,” explained Kathleen Morris, pediatric therapist and publisher of S.I. Focus magazine.
“The good news is that many children with sensory issues are helped immensely withthe right treatment.”
The solution that many have found success with is sensory-based occupational therapy. With this type of therapy, the child is incrementally exposed to a variety of sensory experiences to help regulate the child’s interpretations of and responses to sensory input. Because DSI/SPD is an emerging health concern, there has not been widespread research conducted on treatments, but studies and anecdotal evidence strongly suggest that sensory-based therapy can have significant and long-term success.
Parents, educators and healthcare professionals who suspect a child is affected by DSI/SPD should contact an occupational therapist who specializes in sensory-based therapy for an evaluation.
S.I. Foucs magazine sponsors National Sensory Awareness Month “Come To Your Senses”
each October to raise awareness of sensory integration dysfunction/sensory processing disorder
among parents, educators and other professionals who work with children. Visit www.SIFocus.com
for more information and articles regarding sensory deficits.
*Press Release text credit to Kathleen Morris, editor at SI Focus