What Is Sensory Processing Disorder?
Sensory Processing Disorder is hands down that most frustrating part of being an Autism parent, at least for me. For those unfamiliar with what I’m referring to when I say sensory issues, let me explain.
Sensory processing disorder is a condition that is very common in both kids and adults with Autism. What happens is their brains don’t properly interpret Sensory input correctly and this can be very problematic for them.
Sensory Processing Disorder can impact adults as well. I’m specifically referring to kids because that’s where my experience lies. Please don’t take that as anything else.
Kids with sensory processing disorder are hypersensitive to things like color, sight, sound, light, taste, texture, smells, and especially touch. How these sensitivities impact their lives can and will vary but there are commonalities.
Basically what happens is, kids with SPD will experience all sensory stimuli simultaneously and in amounts that compete overwhelm their ability to cope. Most people are able to filter out an external stimulus that is problematic but for kids with SPD, they simply can’t.
How Sensory Processing Disorder Impacts My Kids
Some of the common examples I hear from people are that they can hear the clock tick, lights hum, and even people writing with pencils around them. People dealing with Sensory Processing Disorder aren’t just experiencing sensory stimuli, they’re bombarded by it.. It is quite often painful and leads to overstimulation. That will later give birth to a meltdown, which is the body’s way of purging all the stress and anxiety built up over a period of time.
I speak only to my personal experience with my kids, but keep in mind that not all kids will experience things like this the same way. Likewise, how this impacts families will vary as well. Having said that, it’s widely accepted that sensory processing disorder is a truly horrible experience for kids to deal with on a daily basis.
All three of my little dudes are very sensory sensitive but not all to the same things and that presents many challenges.
There are two areas that my kids struggle with the most. These struggles impact them on a daily basis and affect the rest of us on a daily basis as well. Sensory processing disorder commonly manifests itself in extreme difficulty with food consumption. Both Elliott and Emmett are extremely when it comes to eating.
Things like food color, smell, taste, texture, visual presentation, physical packaging, imperfections in the food, or different food items on the same plate, will more often than not lead to them refusing to eat.