The full form of SPD is sensory process disorder. It is a condition in which multisensory input is insufficiently processed to offer appropriate responses to environmental demands. Many patients with dyspraxia, autism spectrum disorder, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder have sensory processing disorder. Individuals with SPD may have difficulty processing sensory cues such as visual, gustatory (taste), tactile (touch), auditory, olfactory (smell), vestibular (balance), proprioception (body awareness), and interoception (internal bodily sensations).
Occupational therapist Anna Jean Ayres defined sensory integration in 1972 as “the neurological process that organises sensation from one’s own body and from the environment and allows the body to be used effectively within the environment.” Sensory processing disorder has been defined as a source of significant problems in organising sensations from the body and the environment, manifested by difficulties in performance in one or more of life’s major areas: productivity, leisure and play, or activities of daily living.
Signs and Symptoms
Sensory processing disorder (SPD), or sensory integration issues, can have a lasting impact on an individual’s ability to engage in everyday activities due to ongoing challenges with processing sensory stimuli. Such difficulties may manifest in one or more sensory systems, including the s proprioceptive system, interoceptive system, auditory system, gustatory system, vestibular system, visual system, olfactory system, and somatosensory system.
Although the exact cause of SPD remains unknown, research suggests that early processing centres in the midbrain and brainstem areas of the central nervous system play a crucial role in multisensory integration. These regions are responsible for important functions such as arousal, coordination, attention, and autonomic function. The process of multisensory processing involves passing through specific centres before transmitting sensory information to brain regions responsible for memory, emotions, and higher-level cognitive functions. If any of these areas in the brain are damaged, it could result in difficulties in processing stimuli effectively.
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