Sensory processing disorder, also known as sensory integration dysfunction, is common in children with autism, cerebral palsy and attention deficit disorder. Sensory processing disorder causes difficulty in integrating information from the five senses, along with the sense of movement and the sense of knowing where the parts of the body are. Therapy can treat related symptoms.
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Children with sensory processing disorder may be overly responsive to stimuli, or not responsive enough. One child avoids contact with the outside world, while the other seeks constant stimulation.
These children may be overly sensitive to certain types of tactile stimulation, such as disliking the texture of certain fabrics, or of other substances such as mud or clay.
The child with sensory processing disorder may not respond consistently to speech, or may not be able to figure out where a sound is coming from. He might cry when he hears certain sounds, like a hair dryer; or, in contrast, he might really like loud noises.
Sensory processing disorder can cause a heightened sense of taste, and the child might be willing to eat only a limited number of foods. She also might lick on inedible items such as fabric.
A child with visual processing problems may be unable to put puzzles together, or may have trouble using words to identify objects. He might dislike colourful rooms, or may have problems seeing the difference between shapes and sizes.
Children with sensory processing disorder might enjoy the extra stimulation from spinning around, or conversely, may dislike merry-go-rounds and other amusement park rides. They also might be able to use both hands equally well for colouring, printing letters and throwing a ball.
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