Hello 👋 for those who don’t know me I’m Lorraine from Chewigem. Today I’m going to give you an overview of Sensory Processing Difficulties. Don’t worry I’ll be doing some more in-depth blogs and videos but let’s start here first 👇
Sensory Processing Difficulties are when the brain has trouble receiving and responding to information that comes through the senses.
1 in 20 people suffer from sensory processing difficulties and for 1 in 6 of those, it will affect their daily life.
People with developmental or neurological differences may also have sensory processing difficulties. Whilst it is common for autistic people to have sensory issues, not all autistic people will have issues with their senses and not all people who do will be autistic. Sensory Processing Difficulties are often seen alongside ADHD, Dyspraxia, Tourette’s, Anxiety, Attachment Disorder, Global Developmental Delay, Separation Anxiety and PTSD.
Would you be shocked if I told you we have 8 senses? Honestly, we do … but if you don’t have any difficulties with your senses you might not know about some of them.
The 5 we learn as children are Sight, Sound, Touch, Taste and smell.
There is Proprioception sometimes referred to as our 6th sense and this is the sense of spacial awareness and knowing where our limbs are in space.
Then we have Vestibular which is our balance and goes very closely alongside Proprioception.
Our 8th sense is Interoception and this is knowing what is going on inside our body.
We will go more into these senses in another blog … because if I do it now you’ll be here until next Christmas!
People who struggle with sensory processing difficulties may be over-sensitive (known as hypersensitive) or under-sensitive (known as hyposensitive). Many people can be a mixture of both hypersensitive and hyposensitive and this can change depending on the environment, lack of sleep, stress and anxiety.
People who are hypersensitive are known as avoiders. Avoiders are oversensitive to sensory input and they avoid sensory stimuli, so you may notice them covering their ears or hiding away from busy and noisy places. They may have a restricted diet and gag at smells.
People who are hypersensitive are known as seekers. Seekers are under-sensitive to sensory input and therefore seeks extra sensory stimuli. You may notice they enjoy rough play, and strong-smelling and tasting foods.
There are lots of signs that someone has sensory processing difficulties. Some are more obvious than others and you may not always associate these signs with sensory processing and it may take time to put them all together. Here are some of the more obvious things you may see from someone with sensory processing difficulties:
Other signs of sensory processing difficulties that might not be as obvious are:
You may notice someone with sensory processing difficulties can under or over-respond to the sensory information around them. They may also struggle with changes to their routine and environment. Everyone interprets their sensory messages differently so sensory processing difficulties can look very different from one person to the next.
That’s a brief overview of what sensory difficulties are, who may have sensory difficulties and some of the signs of these difficulties.
If you think you or your child may have spd then stick with us because we are going to help you understand your sensory difficulties and learn how you can help to manage them. We have so much more helpful information on our content hub.
If you want more support surrounding SPD, consider joining our Free Sensory Support Group on Facebook!
This is part of an SPD knowledge pack. If you are interested in reading the rest of it (updated weekly throughout November 2019) please go here:
Why not check out our other knowledge packs here:
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