Sensory processing disorder

Sensory processing disorder (formerly sensory integration disorder) affects the way that the brain receives and interprets sensory information. It can also affect the relay of sensory information.

A child with sensory processing disorder will struggle with making appropriate motor responses to sensory information. The disorder can affect sight, touch and/or movement.

Sensory processing disorder can be very different in each child because it can cause either over- or under-sensitivity to any form of sensory stimulation such as light, noise, touch and taste. For example, some children will find normal sunlight unbearable, whereas others will have little, if any, reaction to it.

Often children with sensory processing disorder may develop routines or appear to have behavioural difficulties. Sensory processing disorder will typically result in special educational needs (SEN).

Children with sensory processing disorder will require support from an occupational therapist with activities designed around sensory integration. Children with sensory processing disorder do not necessarily have intellectual difficulties and, in our experience, once difficulties with sensory integration are managed, children tend to make good progress. In our experience, SEN additional support rarely provides sufficient levels of support and an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) is likely to be necessary.


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