Friday, November 14, 2008

Sensory Processing Disorders (Part 1 of 3)

Therapists working with the K-8 population, especially students with diagnoses across the Autism spectrum must be equipped to address sensory processing disorders.  Sensory processing problems impact all areas of function and must be considered on a case by case basis. Subtle differences between children’s abilities require the therapist to individualize treatment protocols.  Components included in the sensory processing performance area are:


  • Tactile –  Refers to the interpretation of sensory input, including temperature, pressure, pain, and touch, collected from receptors located in the skin
    • Hypersensitivity – Tactile defensiveness- may avoid touch
    • Hyposensitivity -  Decreased responsiveness to touch- may seek repetitive tactile input
  • Auditory – Refers to the interpretation of  sound
    • Hypersensitivity – Auditory defensiveness- may be overly sensitive to background sounds
    • Hyposensitivity - Decreased responsiveness to sound – may not respond appropriately when called by name, may not be able to locate the source of a sound, or may make repetitive noises for no reason.
  • Olfactory – Refers to the brain’s interpretation of  smell
    • Hypersensitivity- May be overly sensitive to smells which others may not notice
    • Hyposensitivity – May not notice smells others complain about.


(Continued next time…)


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