Sensory Discrimination Difficulties

Sensory Discrimination Difficulties

This category of SPD is difficulty with sensory discrimination, or using the senses to learn. Let’s call this child the “jumbler.” This child struggles to use his senses to make judgments, so even if he’s done a task many times before, he goes into it blind each time. If he has to pick up a bucket of water every day, for example, he forgets the information he learned the last time he picked something up. He doesn’t use his proprioception to evaluate how much the bucket might weigh, and perhaps he picks it up with too much force and water slops everywhere. Or he may not use enough and can’t get a grip on it.

Sensory Modulation Disorder

Sensory Modulation Disorder

Sensory modulation is a category of sensory disorders, with three subtypes of its own. The first is sensory over-responsivity. We call this child the “avoider,” because she goes out of her way to avoid sensory stimulation — by covering her ears, hiding under her desk, or closing her eyes. Her sensory input is too sensitive, and everything seems like too much for her.

The second subtype is under-responsivity; this child is the “disregarder.” This child won’t notice what’s going on around him — even if it’s extra loud, right and colorful, or an extreme temperature. His sensory input is muted, so he often seems uncaring or withdrawn. In reality, he just isn’t noticing what’s happening to his senses.

The third subtype is sensory craving; this child is known as the “seeker,” or sometimes, the “bumper and crasher.” This child wants sensations, as many as possible. She’ll be a daredevil, climbing to the highest branch or swinging the farthest on the tire swing. Her sensory input is never enough, and she always wants more, more, more.

Sensory-Based Motor Disorder

Sensory-Based Motor Disorder

Sensory modulation is a category of sensory disorders, with three subtypes of its own. The first is sensory over-responsivity. We call this child the “avoider,” because she goes out of her way to avoid sensory stimulation — by covering her ears, hiding under her desk, or closing her eyes. Her sensory input is too sensitive, and everything seems like too much for her.

The second subtype is under-responsivity; this child is the “disregarder.” This child won’t notice what’s going on around him — even if it’s extra loud, right and colorful, or an extreme temperature. His sensory input is muted, so he often seems uncaring or withdrawn. In reality, he just isn’t noticing what’s happening to his senses.

The third subtype is sensory craving; this child is known as the “seeker,” or sometimes, the “bumper and crasher.” This child wants sensations, as many as possible. She’ll be a daredevil, climbing to the highest branch or swinging the farthest on the tire swing. Her sensory input is never enough, and she always wants more, more, more.

Dyspraxia

The second subtype is dyspraxia, or the “fumbler.” This child will have difficulty planning and executing actions. If you hand him a box, for example, and ask him to do something with it, he won’t know what to do. A neurotypical child will say, “I can climb in the box. I can go under the box. I can push the box.” The fumbler will struggle to come up with an “action idea.” He’ll prefer toys, games, and situations that are familiar, instead of novel — new situations require new motor planning, and a child with dyspraxia will shy away from that.

Postural Disorder

The final category of SPD, sensory-based motor disorder, has two subtypes. The first is postural disorder — let’s call this child the “slumper.” The slumper has difficulty with movement, and moves in a clumsy, disorganized way. He may have difficulty stabilizing himself. He may struggle to run without tripping over his feet. Kids with postural disorder have difficulty crossing the midline, or using the hands and feet on one side of the body on the other side.