Sensory Processing Disorder

From the time we wake up in the morning until we fall asleep again at night, we are subjected to a constant stream of sensory information. Sounds, smells, tastes, touch—most of us encounter this input and for the most part, seamlessly integrate it into our day-to-day experience. However, for an individual with sensory processing difficulties, these experiences can be a major challenge.

Sensory processing disorder, or sensory integration disorder, indicates some sort of difficulty in understanding the world through the five senses. In some cases, an individual may be extremely sensitive to sensory stimuli. In other cases, the disorder may go to the opposite extreme, in which the individual requires more sensory stimulation than the average person. Sensory issues can affect any or all of the five senses, with some individuals’ difficulties only pertaining to a single sense such as touch, while others may have trouble with all sensory input. Regardless of the details of the individual’s difficulties, sensory processing issues can complicate the way a child takes in the world.

Often sensory integration issues are first noticed by a parent during early childhood, although they may not know exactly what is causing the issue. The following is a list of early signs of difficulty with sensory processing:

•Speech and language delays

•Oral motor and feeding problems

•Frequent drooling or gagging

•“Picky eating”

•Delays in motor skills

•Awkward or clumsy movement

•Low or high muscle tone

•High sensitivity to certain sounds

•Unusually high or low activity level

•Discomfort with certain clothing fabrics, labels, tags, etc.

•Upset by unexpected touch

•An aversion to getting messy

•Poor attention and focus


Each of these signs individually may be insignificant, but taken together, may indicate a sensory integration issue. Check in next week when we’ll continue to discuss this disorder, how it can impact your child’s communication, and how a speech-language pathologist can help.

Do you have concerns about your child’s speech or language development? If you feel you may benefit from the services of a speech-language pathologist, give us a call! At Speech Associates of New York, our team of professionally trained and certified speech-language pathologists provide in-home evaluations and therapy. Each of our professionals is trained in the assessment and treatment of a range of pediatric and adult speech, language and communication disorders. Call us today at (212)308-7725 and find out how we can help you communicate your best!

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