Sensory processing disorder (SPD) has a longstanding association with autism, and its physical manifestations lead a parent to get a diagnosis. For years SPD was considered a symptom of autism, but a 2013 study found this disorder had a biological basis, separating it from many other neurological disorders. Studies showed SPD as a stand-alone disorder in recent years, finding that children can have SPD and not autism, and vice versa.

What is Sensory Processing Disorder?

SPD (formerly called sensory integration disorder) is when the brain and nervous system have trouble processing or integrating stimuli. It is a neurophysiological condition where sensory input (environmental or from one’s body) is poorly recognised or understood.

Children with SPD find processing hot or cold feelings, tiredness, hungry, and the environmental factors of light and sound challenging and overwhelming. SPD can be extreme. Some children with SPD can’t register the temperature in a typical way and fail to dress appropriately, putting their health at risk.

As with autism, SPD exists on a spectrum and can affect only one sense, like hearing, taste, or all of them. As a parent the challenge lies in figuring out what your child needs (are they hurt, cold, hungry, etc.), then helping them learn to self-regulate.

Signs your child might have Sensory Processing Disorder

SPD can manifest as an over or under response to stimulation (sight, sound, touch, etc.). Discomfort from being too hot or too cold prompts no reaction, and other things like a car horn can cause physical distress and extreme anxiety.

Common behaviours associated with SPD include:

  • Intolerance to textures, specific clothing, certain noises or loud noises
  • Food textures and colours causing extreme responses
  • Difficulty with fine motor movements
  • Difficulty with change or transitions

Can you treat Sensory Processing Disorder?

There are many ways to treat SPD, as with any diagnosis; everyone is different, so focus on what works for you. Occupational therapists with expertise in sensory issues can help.

People with SPD experience the world in ways you may not understand, so developing a language to articulate what they are feeling and experiencing will be your best tool. Visual aids can help children with SPD who are verbal or non-verbal.

Why choose Sister Sensory for your sensory processing disorder gifts in Australia?

Sister Sensory is Australia’s number one choice for sensory toys and tools for those with neuro-diversities. We understand children with different needs require a unique range of interactive options and are proud of our extensive product catalogue.

As a registered NDIS provider, we stock various Australian autism sensory tools and toys for children with sensory processing disorder. Download our NDIS guide. Our products are updated regularly to make sure your neurodiverse kids experience the latest and greatest products.

Visit our fully online one-stop sensory shop. Don’t let lockdowns stop you from finding the fidget toys you need. Contact us today for more information or create the ultimate birthday gift registry for the amazing neurodiverse people in your life. We have a sensory processing disorder gift perfect for you.