Adult Sensory Processing Disorder

Although it is true that Sensory Processing Disorder treatments are generally focused upon children, Sensory Processing Disorder is also common among adults.

What is Sensory Processing Disorder?

Sensory Processing refers to the way that the brain intakes and understands information through the senses, i.e. taste and touch helps us understand what is too cold and what is sweet. Sensory Processing Disorder is the term given to diagnose those who have a difficulty in understanding (processing) sensory (sight and sound) information, i.e. taste does not help understand what is sour and touch does not help to understand if something is too hot.

Sensory Processing Disorder in Adults

The symptoms of sensory processing disorder in adults number in the hundreds, but the majority of adults regularly experience one or more of the following:

-Smells and flavors can cause intense responses
-Soft touch or embrace may “hurt”
-Sounds may make them irritable and jumpy
-Textures like wool, Styrofoam, and man-made fabrics are often uncomfortable

Because they have likely struggled with Sensory Processing Disorder since childhood, adults with this disorder may have learned to compensate, leading to some of the following:

-Hypersensitivity to touch
-Avoidance of tasks
-Poor self-esteem
-Fear of failure
-Difficulty staying focused
-Irritability in crowds
-Sensitivity to loud, repetitive sounds
-Fussy about clothing, uncomfortable in many clothing items
-Prefers to be barefoot
-Dislikes bracelets and watches
-Easily overwhelmed

Three Main Categories of Sensory Processing Disorder

Sensory modulation disorder – involves difficulty in grading or regulating responses to sensory input; this category includes sensory over- and under-responsiveness and sensory seeking.

Sensory discrimination disorder – when a person has difficulty interpreting specific characteristics such as intensity, speed, timing and duration of sensory input.

Sensory-based motor disorder – subdivided into dyspraxia -problems with sequencing, organisation and motor planning – and postural disorder such as distorted balance and core stability.



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