It is also known as Sensory Integration Disorder or Sensory Integration Dysfunction.
It has been said that preemies are at risk for Sensory Processing Disorder because they are born with a very fragile nervous system to start with, then they are poked and prodded everyday for months. This certainly can’t help their sensitivities!
Does your child cry a lot, is s/he constantly leaning against you, trouble sleeping? Does s/he find rocking or swinging calming? Does s/he flap and see, over stimulated? Love to play with messy things, mud, play doh or food! (my child does) or do they hate these thing and prefer to no go near it at all? Is s/he out of playing hard one minute, crashing into things (and people) the next? Do crowded places bother him? S/he loves to be hugged or hate it?…These are just a few signs and all can be an indication of Sensory Processing Disorder.
My son he had all of the above symptoms. There are certain triggers that set him off too. For example flashing lights, when a sickness is coming on, spinning, after surgery and just recently I noticed a trigger for him is blue food dye (this could be food allergy related, but is certainly triggers his SPD!).
So from a “mom’s” point of view… If you suspect your child has SPD, I can’t stress enough that you try to find an occupational therapist (OT) who is SIPT certified or someone supervised by a SIPT CERTIFIED therapist. It makes all the difference in the world.
An SIPT certified OT is additionally trained to diagnose and treat SPD.
While most OT's know about SPD, they can’t diagnosis and are only trained in the basics of the Sensory therapy.
I can personally say there is a difference in an OT who is SIPT certified verses one who is not.
How do you find a certified Occupational Therapist?
If you live in Massachusetts, North Shore area I highly recommend getting an evaluation from Dr. Tara McCormick at the Kioko Center.
While your child is in treatment try to remember that sensory therapy is an art not a science. What works for one child doesn't necessarily work for the next. Try to continue some treatments at home to help ease SPD symptoms.
Things we used in therapy were swings, weighted vests, modulated music.....and many more.
Below are some items that we use in our home to help our son when he's in sensory overload;.
Body Sox (small, medium or large) My son loves to put his stuffed animal in this and climb in.
Play Tents and Tunnels..
In&outdoor swing; for days when they need calming and soothing activities.
Trampoline;I really like the handle on this trampoline especially for children (like mine) who has balance trouble.
Frog Bean Bag Set: I will layer these on top of my son when he is overstimulated or when he is sleeping I use it in lieu of a weighted blanket.
For additional information about SPD check out the The SPD Foundation.