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  • Writer's pictureCarina Lee

Vision and Sensory Processing Disorder

Dr. Carina Lee, April 13, 2022

Have you been told your child has a sensory processing disorder (SPD)?

Many eye specialists can now provide you with a variety of solutions to manage your child's SPD and enable them to maximize their involvement with the outside world. Sensory processing disorders (SPD) can be life-changing.

Due to the following factors, SPDs are particularly difficult to diagnose:

It is possible to mistake sensory processing abnormalities for ADHD or autism, or vice versa (ASD).

Other curable visual issues, such as convergence insufficiency (CI), may overlap with SPD or be misinterpreted as such.

Any child exhibiting SPD symptoms or indicators requires a prompt, thorough multidisciplinary examination.

According to a 2009 study, 1 in every 6 kids may struggle to learn and perform in school due to sensory difficulties.

While sensory processing problems are frequently observed in children with ASD, they can also be linked to ADHD, OCD, or other developmental delays.

Additionally, sensory processing problems may manifest on their own, without any accompanying diagnoses. Because of this, it's critical that a diagnosis only be made following thorough examinations that paint a complete picture of the presenting behavior.

Behaviors related to SPD

The following behaviors are often seen in kids who are highly sensitive to sensory stimulation:

  • Unable to tolerate bright lights and loud noises, such as ambulance sirens

  • Refuse to wear clothing or shoes because they feels scratchy or irritating (even after cutting out all the tags and labels), or “too tight”

  • Easily distracted by background noises that others don’t seem to hear

  • Fearful of surprise touch, and avoid hugs and cuddling even with familiar adults

  • Overly fearful of swings and playground equipment

  • Often have trouble knowing where their body is in relation to other objects or people

  • Often bump into people and objects and appear clumsy

  • Difficulty sensing the amount of force they’re applying (i.e. they may rip the paper when erasing, pinch too hard, or slam down objects)

  • Run away or bolt from whatever is distressing them

  • Extreme meltdowns when overwhelmed

Children that are not as sensitive need more sensory stimulation. The following behaviors are frequently seen in these kids:

  • A constant need to touch people or textures, even when it’s not socially acceptable

  • Inability to understand personal space

  • An extremely high tolerance for pain

  • Inability to understand their own strength

  • Very fidgety and unable to sit still

  • Enjoy jumping, bumping and crashing activities

  • Crave fast, spinning and/or intense movement

  • Enjoy being tossed in the air and jumping on furniture and trampolines

  • Enjoy deep pressure like tight bear hugs

Many of these behaviors may seem "negative" or comparable to the hyperactive behaviors linked to ADHD, but the youngster actually has SPD and is unable to control his demand for a particular amount of sensory input.

Treatment for SPD

Although SPD cannot be treated with medication, your child can benefit from effective therapy and sensible home and school improvements.

Vision therapy

Children with SPD can benefit greatly from vision therapy.

Many parents say their child's: after finishing a vision treatment program: increase

  • Self-confidence

  • Social competence

  • Self-esteem

  • Academic performance

The developmental capacities of a child with SPD are improved objectively and visibly as a result of vision therapy.

Vision therapy aims to improve:

  • Visual skills and/or visual processing

  • Visual-motor, sensorimotor and motor skills

  • Hand-eye coordination

  • Sensory integration

Gains in the child's essential developmental capacities enable him to interact with the physical world and those around him with more ease and satisfaction.

Make an appointment with an eye doctor who has knowledge of children's vision and vision therapy if you've been informed that your child has sensory processing disorder.

A vision treatment program that can support your child's overall achievement might potentially be started after an eye test, which will help you better understand your child's issues.

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