Sensory Processing Disorders In Adults

What Causes Sensory Processing Disorder

5 Sensory Processing Disorder Effective help TIPS (2020)

Doctors dont know what causes SPD. Theyre exploring a genetic link, which means it could run in families. Some doctors believe there could be a link between autism and SPD. This could mean that adults who have autism could be more likely to have children who have SPD. But its important to note that most people who have SPD dont have autism.

Navigating Sensory Processing Disorder

SPD treatment is available, but due to the lack of diagnosis or misdiagnosis, many are unable to take advantage of it. This can cause frustrations for both those experiencing SPD as well as parents caring for children living with SPD.

While occupational therapies are often used to help those with SPD navigate the world, behavioral therapy can help individuals learn to accept and manage their unique needs. However, sitting in a traditional therapists office may be difficult for someone living with SPD. Therefore, online therapy may be an appealing alternative, since it allows individuals to complete therapy from anywhere with a strong internet connection.

There hasnt been much research done comparing online vs. in-person therapy when it comes to SPD. However, research suggests that online cognitive behavioral therapy is an effective alternative to in-person therapy for many mental health disorders.

Adults Have Choices Regarding Activities

Many adults with SPD cope well in everyday life. However, being an adult, they have choices. They can choose their work environment, the activities they attend and the tasks they are involved in.

Children with spd do not have these choices. Therefore, symptoms of SPD are more readily identified in childhood. The effect of SPD, and the struggles of a Sensory Processing Disorder adult are the same as in childhood.

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Sensory Disorders In Psychology

In psychology, sensory processing issues is a term that describes a collection of challenges relating to senses.

These challenges occur when the senses fail to respond properly to the stimuli from the outside world.

American Psychiatric Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend that pediatricians should not use SPD as a diagnosis as it is not recognized by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual.

Sensory issues are assessed as symptoms of other developmental disorders such as Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Is Sensory Processing Disorder A Real Disorder HOME

Most researchers agree that serious sensory challenges exist, but whether they should be classified as a disorder has been contested. SPD is not in the ICD-11 or the DSMrather, sensory issues are included as a possible symptom of autism. Regardless of formal diagnosis, however, there is treatment available for severe sensory issues.

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How Can You Define Sensory Touch Issues

Sensory touch issues happen when individuals struggle to receive and react to information passed through their senses. People with sensory touch issues may easily get irritated by anything touching their skin or feel overwhelmed after frequent touching in quick succession. This occurs due to physical discomfort caused by the inability to process all these sensations at once. Also, it can stem from something else, such as anxiety about public spaces and concern about personal boundaries.

Sensory Processing Disorder In Toddlers

Young children may lack the ability to accurately communicate their experience with sensory issues. Because of this, parents must work to track patterns that develop with their childâs behaviors and the triggers of these behaviors.

Some common symptoms of SPD in toddlers and younger children include:2

  • Crying if they get wet
  • Having tantrums during daily routines like getting dressed
  • Seeming to have very low or very high pain thresholds
  • Struggling with holding and using objects like spoons, cups, and crayons
  • Running into people and walls
  • Putting nonfood items in their months
  • Being very picky about foods

With SPD, the symptoms may initially appear to be appropriate based on age, but as other children develop out of these patterns, a child with SPD may seem stuck at that level. As time goes on, they will appear to be further away from their peers.

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Adult Sensory Processing Disorder And What It Means For Sleep

Sleep is an integral part of our lives. It allows time for our minds to recharge, promotes a healthy immune system, , and improves your life expectancy.

Unfortunately, not all of us get the same quality of sleep. While sleep disturbances may occur for several different reasons, complications with sensory processing can be exceptionally challenging to treat.

Even though children are more commonly diagnosed with sensory processing disorder, physicians may diagnose adults as well. However, these adults have typically had the disorder since childhood but have developed ways to manage it.

If you’re living with sensory processing disorder and wondering how to get a good night’s rest, AcousticSheep LLC, creators of SleepPhones® headphones, has you covered. We’ll define sensory processing disorder, identify some common issues that may arise while sleeping at night, and provide some tips and tools that may help you sleep.

Important Note: You should always consult a medical professional before making any decisions regarding your health.

What Causes Sensory Overload In Adults

In the Clinic with Dr. A Jean Ayres| The Sensory Processing Disorder Foundation

Things in the physical environment in spaces and places may trigger a sensory overload response. This may be present in workplaces, schools, grocery stores, shopping centres or at home. Examples of common factors that contribute include:

  • Confusing situations.
  • Unfamiliar places.

Nonetheless, it is important to note again that everyone has different sensory preferences. Therefore, what may trigger sensory overload for one person, may not be bothersome for another. Additionally, sensory preferences may change with age. It is common for people to change their sensory preferences as they get older.

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Are Sensory Processing Disorder And Sensory Processing Sensitivity The Same

No. Sensory processing sensitivity is a personality trait that describes how sensitive someone is to physical sensations or emotional input. Those high in the trait are known as highly sensitive people, or HSPs. Sensory processing disorder, on the other hand, describes a sensory dysfunction in which the senses cannot appropriately process environmental input.

Sensory Processing Disorder Vs Autism Spectrum Disorder

Experts continue to debate whether sensory processing disorder is a symptom of autism spectrum disorder or a stand alone issue. According to groups like the APA, sensory processing issues are part of the ASD diagnosis because most people with autism also have sensory problems. Others would suggest that plenty of people without autism have a sensory processing disorder.2

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Causes Of Sensory Processing Disorder

While there is much research taking place regarding the causes of SPD, the results are not yet conclusive. Some results indicate SPD may be inherited. Others show that prenatal and birth complications may be associated with the disorder.

Now, many professionals are beginning to utilize brain-imaging techniques to discover the biological implications of the disorder. One study even found a connection between specific areas of the brain and the ability to organize and respond to sensory information. While related disorders like autism spectrum disorder and ADHD relate to the front of the brain, SPD was shown to relate to the back of the brain. This suggests that SPD may be a unique disorder, rather than a symptom. However, further research is needed for these results to be considered significant.

How Do You Test For Sensory Processing Disorder

What is Sensory Processing Disorder Anyway?

The first thing to do is to observe your childs behaviors. Maybe they avoid itchy fabrics or they dont like scented candles.

Or you may be an adult experiencing the same reactions to certain types of foods or textures. These could be a sign of sensory processing disorder.

There are tests and checklists online that can be utilized. These would provide a broad idea whether or not the person might have SPD.

However, professional evaluation is essential in terms of both proper diagnosis as well as for learning treatment options.

Occupational therapists trained in sensory integration would be really helpful.

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What Can I Do

Keep a notebook and jot down when you feel overwhelmed or anxious. As well as what makes you feel calm and regulated. Keep track of these times and look for common themes.

Do you feel stressed after a social gathering, perhaps you struggle with all the auditory stimulus from a situation like this?

Do you struggle to make your way through a grocery store? Maybe all the visual stimuli are difficult for you to process?

When do you feel your best? After a good workout or a walk with the family? If your body craves more proprioceptive input engaging your muscles should help you feel regulated.

Do you like the feeling of a tight hug from a loved one or the weight of your winter comforter? Great! Use that knowledge! Deep passive proprioceptive input is a great technique to use to help you feel calmer when stressed or overwhelmed.

Pay attention to the eb and flow of over-stimulated and under-stimulated times in your life you will be able to connect the dots and have a better understanding of how sensory input affects you and how your body processes it.

And, with that knowledge, you will be in a better place to help yourself. You will learn why you respond to situations a certain way, and when you have a better understanding of what is going on you become empowered.

The Eight Sensory Systems

We are all familiar with our sight, sound, smell, touch and taste as the five basic senses.

However, human beings have actually eight sensory systems.

Researchers found that the following are included in our sensory nervous system:

Also known as sight, this sense helps us interpret what we see. We see the colors, letters, words, shapes, numbers, and lighting which make up the environment around us.

Visual sense is important in terms of making sense of nonverbal cues and track movement so we dont get hurt when we move.

People who have difficulty in processing visual stimuli could struggle with distinguishing necessary information from unneeded ones.

Our tactile or touch sense helps us respond to physical stimuli with the receptors of our skin. This way we know where we are feeling some physical sensation in our body.

Through this act, we can decide whether this touch is safe or dangerous, and protect ourselves in case of danger.

People who have difficulty with tactile sense may not be able to tell the difference between safe or dangerous touch.

They may overreact to a light touch, thinking it is a threat. This may cause them to be really anxious.

  • Olfactory/Smell

Sense of olfactory or smell is found to be connected to our memories and emotions.

A certain smell can cause a person to feel frightened or relaxed, reminding of a past experience.

Auditory or sound sense helps us interpret what we hear around us. The frequency of the sound we hear has also a meaning.

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When Sensory Issues Persist

This isnt to say that everyone with sensory issues gets better. Shannon Des Roches Rosa, a senior editor at Thinking Persons Guide to Autism, reports, We hear from a lot of adults in our community that their sensory sensitivities actually dont go away and that, coupled with peoples intolerance and refusal to accommodate for sensory issues, it gets worse for many, to the point where some essentially become sensory recluses.

Adds Nancy Peske, coauthor of Raising a Sensory Smart Child, Different senses are more problematic as you get further toward adulthood. Visual/auditory demands are greater in school than they were when Technology helps, but reading black on white print, in books? Listening to sage on the stage lectures? That can be so hard!

What Does Sensory Processing Disorder Look Like In Adults

Autism and sensory sensitivity

Adults who struggle with processing sensory input might have difficulty in everyday situations that others dont seem bothered by. They may wonder why they dont enjoy going to the movies or social gatherings, or why grocery shopping is stressful. Some may notice they have a hard time focusing in certain situations, or that they focus better when they are able to be physically active or moving when needing to work on a problem.

Lets look at some examples of how adults may be affected by Sensory Processing Disorder. Well discuss them in relation to the seven senses we experience daily.

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What Does Treatment Look Like

Effective services for adults and older adolescents include direct therapy, home programs, education, and/or accommodations. Many adults do well with evaluation and consultation for treatment. We do not put adults into the same equipment we use with children, but we provide the consultation they need to treat themselves. Often we can prepare a home program using some equipment such as Interactive Metronome at home, Integrated Listening Systems at home, proprioceptive activities and other activities designed to raise the adults threshold to sensation and normalize his/her reactions.

In direct treatment, therapy improves sensory processing and decreases sensory symptoms. Specific sensory inputs such as tactile stimulation, movement, auditory input, and/or other sensory experiences are utilized to normalize the clients specific symptoms.

Adults who have never before experienced heights, touch, or movement with comfort can become much more successful and happy during those activities.

Adults may be parents of children with differences in Sensory Integration & Processing or maybe older individuals who have never had relationship and sensory-based intervention.

Online Resources For Adults With Sensory Processing Differences

There is a lot of information related to adult sensory processing disorder available online:1. Adult Sensory Processing Differences Self-Tests- This self-test can help adults understand and identify sensory challenges they may experience. 2. Adult Sensory Processing Checklists- Here is another checklist for adolescents and adults to identify potential red flags of sensory processing disorder. This checklist is broken down into sensory modulation issues, sensory discrimination difficulties sensory-motor struggles, social or emotional regulation challenges, and internal regulation difficulties.

The Sensory Lifestyle Handbook walks you through sensory processing information, each step of creating a meaningful and motivating sensory diet, that is guided by the individuals personal interests and preferences.

The Sensory Lifestyle Handbook is not just about creating a sensory diet to meet sensory processing needs. This handbook is your key to creating an active and thriving lifestyle based on a deep understanding of sensory processing.

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Living With Sensory Processing Disorder

Living with SPD can be hard. Parents of children with SPD can feel alone. They may avoid taking their child out in public to avoid sensory overload. Parents may also feel like they need to make excuses for their childs behavior.

Adults who have SPD may feel isolated, too. Sensory overload can prevent them from leaving the house. This can make it difficult to go to the store or even to work.

Adults who are struggling with SPD should work with an occupational therapist. The therapist may be able to help them learn new reactions to stimuli. This can lead to changes in how they deal with certain situations. And that may lead to an improved lifestyle.

Sometimes, even if SPD gets better with therapy or age, it may never go away. A major life event or stress can trigger symptoms.

How Is Sensory Processing Disorder Diagnosed

Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)

Parents may recognize their childs behavior is not typical. But most parents may not know why. Dont be afraid to discuss your childs behavior with your doctor. He or she may refer you to an occupational therapist. These professionals can assess your child for SPD. He or she will likely watch your child interact in certain situations. The therapist will ask your child questions. All of these things will help make a diagnosis.

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Treating Sensory Processing Disorder In Adults

Suppose you are hypersensitive to sounds or textures to the point where they are physically and emotionally unbearable. In that case, you may have Sensory Processing Disorder . Sensory processing disorder is when the brain has trouble receiving and responding to information coming in through the senses. Your skin may feel unbearable loud music is maddening, perfume sickening. Whatever the specific symptoms, SPD disorder makes daily living difficult. Living with SPD can be hard, and it can complicate many everyday activities.

In most cases, sensory issues occur in children, but adults can also experience SPD. In adults, the symptoms have likely existed since childhood. However, they have developed ways to deal with their SPD.

Although SPD is not classified as a disorder in the ICD-11 or the DSM-5, it is a form of neurodivergence. Neurodivergent refers to thought patterns, behaviors, or learning styles that fall outside what is considered normal or neurotypical.

Is Sensory Processing Disorder Considered A Neurological Disorder

Even if the American Psychiatric Association currently doesnt classify SPD as a neurological disorder, recent research depicts that there may be some neurological basis. In one study, experts used functional magnetic resonance imaging to scan the brains of SPD-affected children and compared the results to healthy ones. The results showed that the brains of children with SPD had altered connectivity between specific regions. Although these results call for more research, the evidence so far suggests a neurological relation.

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Can Anxiety Trigger Sensory Issues

Patients with anxiety disorders often experience symptoms of sensory processing disorder. Anxiety is the bodys response to stress, and it affects how people perceive their surroundings. People with anxiety are susceptible to stimuli that others rarely notice, like the ticking of a clock or the sound of cutting vegetables. This can cause them to feel overwhelmed and stressed, leading to other problems like difficulty sleeping and gastrointestinal issues.

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