Sensory Processing Disorder in Children (SPD)

Sensory modulation dysfunction is part of Sensory Processing Disorder.

Sensory modulation refers specifically to the brain’s ability to respond appropriately to environmental sensations and maintain an appropriate level of arousal and alertness. It is a problem in the regulation of responses to sensory stimuli that results in the rejection of or strong negative response to sensations that do not generally bother others.

Symptoms of sensory modulation dysfunction may present as manifestations of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and are often considered to be one of the most common features of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).

Sensory modulation disorder (SPD) may present comorbidly in preterm or fragile-X children or present as an isolated noxa.

The current hypothesis postulates that sensory modulation disorder (SPD) involves the sensory-motor areas of the cortex and secondary sensory integration areas in particular, the posterior parietal and superior temporal sulcus as areas of integration of auditory-tactile information, while the prefrontal and dorsolateral cortex is the seat of attentional control.

It was Dr. A. Jean Ayres, (1920-1988) Phd, occupational therapist, and psychologist to first describe Sensory Integration Theory as a “psychological bottleneck” condition that prevents some parts of the brain from adequately receiving or interpreting certain sensory information and its bodily responses.

There is a misinterpretation of everyday sensory information such as touch, sound, movement, with inadequate motor responses. 15.5% of school-age children suffer from sensory regulation disorder.

In short, when a child has difficulties with modulation, his brain cannot adequately interpret environmental stimuli and as a consequence his brain becomes disorganized. This will be reflected in their behavior which will become disordered. Many of his manifestations are an attempt to organize environmental stimuli, such as running in circles, jumping or any other type of “hyperactive behaviors”.