Sensory processing dysfunction or sensory integration dysfunction

Problems with Sensory processing?

When someone has problems in sensory processing the signal of the tactile sense or sense of balance is too strong or too weak. As a result of this we react as if we were in danger while we are not, or we pay too little attention to these sensory stimuli, while we should. We focus our attention in a wrong way and take insufficient notice of our movements. As a result we make too little use of the information from our muscles and joints and we have trouble concentrating and learning new skills.

** The tactile sense warns for danger too quickly, also called tactile overregistration

These children are sensitive to touch: their sensory stimuli react very promptly. These children dislike being touched, sitting on someone’s lap and being cuddled. Furthermore they are often very picky about their food, their clothes which they often experience as being ´tickly`. They are also particular about the toys they play with. Playing with water, sand, clay and paint are not amongst their favourites. They think it is dirty.

**The tactile sense warns too late and is unregistered. This is also called tactile under-registration.

If this is the case the child hardly notices it when he is touched, or if he touches something himself. The sensory stimuli do not give enough information. As a result the child has difficulty `steering` his own body, which makes him clumsy and he bumps into objects all the time. These children love to play with `messy` materials such as sand, clay and paint.

**The sense of balance warns for danger too quickly.

This is also called vestibular over-registration. A child with this problem is very sensitive to being moved. Their sensory stimuli react to the slightest movement or change of position. He does not like being moved, swinging, or rough play. These children often seem somewhat frightened and they are less active than other children.

** The sense of balance warns for danger too late and is not noticed.

This is also called vestibular under-registration. A child having this problem hardly notices it when he is moved. His sensory stimuli do not give enough information. Being moved, swinging, romping and other rough games are their favourites. These children are often real daredevils and they are always very active and in motion.

Problems in sensory processing are considered to be problems in using especially tactile and motion stimuli in an adequate way, which result in taking insufficient notice of our movements, not paying attention to what we are doing and having difficulties learning new things.

Treatment can be successful for many children and even adults with sensory processing disorders. It is necessary to touch and to move the child in such a way that he is going to use these tactile stimuli and movements and even starts to enjoy them. Using these stimuli will eventually result in changes.

In order to bring about these changes the advice and games described in the following pages can be of great help. But you might want to find a therapist specialised in sensory processing disorder in your area. In any way you might as well begin.

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