Sensory Processing Disorder

Mind Performance Center

J Douglas Brown, DC, DACNB

Neurology & Functional Neurology Practice located in Foley, AL and serving the greater Baldwin County

Sensory processing disorder affects children and adults, creating challenges that make every day difficult. At Mind Performance Center in Foley, Alabama, J. Douglas Brown, DC, DACNB, is a functional neurologist with extensive experience creating therapeutic exercises that can help people of all ages overcome their sensory problems. At Mind Performance Center we proudly serve residents of Foley, Fairhope, Daphne, Mobile, and Pensacola. To schedule an appointment call the office today.

Sensory Processing Disorder Q & A

What is sensory processing disorder?

Sensory processing disorder (SPD), originally called sensory integration dysfunction, occurs when your brain misinterprets the sensory information it receives from nerves throughout your body. As a result, you have an unusual or abnormal response to some types of sensory stimulation.

SPD can affect any of your senses, including:

  • Hearing
  • Vision
  • Taste
  • Smell
  • Touch
  • Balance and posture (vestibular senses)
  • Body position and movement (proprioception)
  • Internal senses such as hunger and thirst (interoception)

SPD is complicated by the fact that your brain usually processes multiple sensory signals at one time. For example, eye-hand coordination requires input from your visual, proprioceptive, and tactile senses.

Are there different subtypes of sensory processing disorder?

The primary subtypes of SPD are:

Sensory modulation disorder

This subtype refers to over-responsive and under-responsive reactions to sensory stimulation. In some cases, you may overreact to some stimuli and underreact to others. You may also crave certain types of stimulation.

Sensory-based motor disorder

Sensory-based motor disorder includes problems with balance, motor coordination, posture problems, and dyspraxia, which refers to difficulty planning or executing skilled movements.

Sensory discrimination disorder

Sensory discrimination disorder refers to difficulty recognizing and interpreting information received through any of the eight senses. As a result, it’s difficult to use your senses to learn and perform activities. 

What symptoms develop due to sensory processing disorder?

SPD causes a wide range of symptoms that affect emotions, behaviors, attention, and motor activities. The symptoms depend on the type of SPD and the senses affected.

Hypersensitive (over-reactive) people may:

  • Be fearful or get angry in response to loud noises
  • Refuse to wear clothing that irritates their skin (even though it feels soft to others)
  • Back away from being touched or hugged
  • Be clumsy and bump into things

Hyposensitive (under-reactive) people may:

  • Crave fast, spinning, or intense movement
  • Have a high tolerance for pain
  • Need to touch people or things
  • Love jumping and crashing activities

Children with SPD often react with extreme behaviors and emotions because they’re utterly overwhelmed by sensations. Adults often have trouble with things like tags in clothing, tight clothes, bright lights, loud noises, and strong scents such as perfume.

How is sensory processing disorder treated?

Many standard treatments for SPD focus on remediating specific symptoms or one sensory problem at a time. Dr. Brown takes a holistic approach called central integration, which allows him to address the brain’s ability to take in information from all the senses.

After evaluating all the sensory pathways, Dr. Brown develops therapeutic exercises that rehabilitate all the dysfunctional nerve systems.

If you need help with SPD, or your child does, call Mind Performance Center or book an appointment online.