Sensory Problems Sensory Integration (1908)

Key points below

What is sensory processing?

Sensory processing is how our brain uses information from our senses. Our senses are sight, smell, sound, touch, taste, body awareness, and movement.  

What is sensory processing dysfunction?

People who have sensory processing problems or sensory processing disorder (SPD) have problems understanding information we get from our senses. This can make it hard for them to respond in expected ways. It can impact ability to participate in daily activities. 

We all have sensory preferences.  We may prefer some feelings or tastes over others.  Sensory preferences do not affect our daily life like sensory processing dysfunction. 

What are the signs of sensory processing problems?

A child may:

What is sensory modulation dysfunction?

Sensory modulation dysfunction describes how someone’s brain may react if they have problems processing sensory messages. 

Sensory Cravers or Seekers: Some children seek much stronger sensory input.  They do this by:

These children may be aggressive and do things without thinking first.  They may have a hard time sitting still and working or playing quietly. They may have very good large motor skills but poor small motor skills.

Often children will have symptoms from more than one area.

How is it treated?

Occupational therapists (OT) are trained to work with children who have sensory processing problems. An OT can find out which sensory systems are and are not working and how this impacts the child at home and in the community.  They will create a treatment plan based on your child’s needs. 

Who can I call for help?

If you think your child may have sensory processing problems, talk with your child’s primary care doctor. The doctor can refer you to an OT, if needed. After the referral is received, we will call to schedule the evaluation. 


Call your child’s doctor, nurse, or clinic if you have any questions or concerns or if your child has special health care needs that were not covered by this information.