What is sensory processing disorder? Gaining a better understanding of SPD will not only help your child, but can you better understand your child! Adults can also have their own sensory strengths and weaknesses as well and this blog will hopefully better understand those strengths and weaknesses within yourself and for your child as well.

This is about helping children process sensory stimuli so they can further develop socially, behaviorally, physically, and cognitively. For example- Hyperactivity is a symptom of difficulty with sensory processing.

It is important to know the following:

  1. Your child had unique sensory integration triggers
  2. We can help our children through therapy exercises or tools.
  3. We can help our children to understand their own sensory triggers and give them the autonomy to help themselves as they go into adulthood.


Sensory Processing Disorder


All children have 8 sensory systems:

Is my child under- or over- sensitive to any of his/her sensory systems?


Hypersensitive/Over-Reactive: Children who receive more than normal sensory signals and seek the input from the sensory system.


Hyposensitive/Under-Reactive: Children who are under-responsive to sensory signals and avoid the input from that sensory system.


The Body’s Eight Sensory Systems



The body’s spatial awareness tool, conducted by the inner ear. Allows us to maintain our body’s orientation and balance and helps it remain in control when in movement.


Over-reactive: Fear of heights, impulsive or constant movement, seeking to be upside down, motion sickness (car, plane, swing).


Under-reactive: Difficulty standing or sitting still, fear of movement activities or being upside down, claustrophobia, may be clumsy, lack of coordination.


Tactile: How the body interprets nerve receptors on the skin, includes: light touch (surface), deep touch (pressure), temperature, and pain. Ability to feel pain (itching or tickling) or temperature, move muscle, tendon, and joint position and stretch is proprioception. Ability to use motor skills and develop visual and body awareness.


Over-reactive: Defensive to touch, bothered by clothing or tags, cannot sit still, continuous movement, impulsive behaviors, motion sickness.


Under-reactive: Need to touch, desires to be touched


Proprioception: Allows body to regulate muscles and joints to allow for movement and body position. Allows body to be aware of motion, acceleration, motor control, and posture.


Over-reactive: Cannot sit still, continuous movement, impulsive behaviors.


Under-reactive: fear of movement activities or being upside down, may be clumsy, lack of coordination.


Visual: Brain’s ability to properly process the visual environment to perceive and to discriminate visual input. (Does NOT have to do with eyesight or vision).


Over-reactive: Sensitive to the sun/light, distracted by things around them.


Under-reactive: Cannot look someone in the eye, difficulty reading words on a page, dyslexia.


Auditory: Body’s ability to discriminate between sounds and sort through their hearing processes. Being able to focus on most important sound among lesser ones, distinguish between words and to follow instructions.


Over-reactive: Sensitive to loud sounds and background noise.


Under-reactive: Doesn’t hear name being called, needs repeat of directions


Olfactory: How brain deciphers between pleasant and odorous smells, while aiding or inhibiting our ability to eat, to focus or to remember information.


Over-reactive: Sensitive to smell


Under-reactive: Will overtly smell things around them


Oral or Gustatory: Mouth’s ability to process temperature, taste, and texture while eating.


Over-reactive: Picky eaters, sensitive to teeth brushing, or textures of food.


Under-reactive: Chewing on pencils, constantly putting things in mouth, nail biting.


Interoception: Body’s never response to digestion or respiration.


Over-reactive: seeks fast heartbeat through rigorous activities, taking large breaths, not eating due to liking sensation of hunger, always potty-ing.


Under-reactive: Eating more often to avoid hunger pangs, slow to potty train, avoiding fast breathing or heartbeat.


Resources: The Out of Sync Child– Carol Stock Kranowitz; The Out of Sync Child Has Fun– Carol Stock Kranowitz

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