It is very important to understand that Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) is a disorder that affects the nervous system. It is the nervous system’s inability to properly organize sensory stimuli from the environment. The best way to explain how SPD works is to think about having a conversation with someone at a coffee shop. While many people are capable of tuning out background music, noise from the other patrons and can focus on having a conversation, others cannot. All the stimuli are competing for attention in the brain at once which can create anxiety and cause a sense of being overwhelmed. There’s an old adage that everyone is on the Autism spectrum – well the same can be true for SPD. Here are some common sensitivities:
Hate Getting Hair Cut – Especially in men who use razors to groom their hair, the vibration stimulates the sensation of both touch as well as sound which can be very difficult to process for people who have SPD.
Clothing Labels Annoy You – While we know there is a label in the back of our shirt, most of us are able to forget that it’s there. We’ve all had the occasional tag that has annoyed us. The difference for people suffering from SPD, they will be fixated on the label until it is resolved and not be able to focus on anything else.
New Cleaning Smells Bother You – The smell of cleaning problems, especially with those who have an olfactory sensitivity can be too much to bear. Even cleaners that are allegedly scent free can be detected by those who are ultra sensitive to smells.
Needing To Touch Things To Relax – Fidget spinners before they became a fad were actually a toy that was developed to help kids calm down when stressed. Mermaid pillows are a great example of something tactile that can help someone relax.