What is Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)? Learn with Sensory Wise


What is Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)?

Sensory processing disorder occurs when our bodies sensory integration does not develop and work as efficiently as it should. This causes the ‘messages’ the brain is receiving from our sensory systems to become mixed up and the central nervous system has difficulty organising them into the appropriate responses. Sensory processing disorders affect up to 20% of the population and can occur across the lifespan.

For children, in particular those who have difficulty communicating, the mixed messages their brain is receiving can be incredibly frustrating and their behaviour can be misinterpreted. Children with SPD may be labelled as ‘naughty’ or a ‘problem child’ in the classroom for either being overactive or under-active and disengaged.

Sensory processing disorder can affect children and adults and causes difficulties with:

  • Attention and behaviour
  • Social skills, including their self-esteem
  • Play skills
  • Movement, balance and coordination
  • Fine and gross motor skills
  • Daily living and routines such as sleeping, eating or getting dressed

Difficulties in one or more of these areas can be experienced by anyone, at any age. You can be born with sensory processing difficulties or they can develop later in life, more commonly referred to as sensory impairments and mobility impairments.

Sensory difficulties can exist without any other health diagnosis. They are also commonly found with many other neurological and physiological conditions:

  • Autism
  • ADHD
  • Dyslexia
  • Dyspraxia
  • Downs Syndrome
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Fragile X Syndrome
  • Irlans Syndrome
  • Pervasive Developmental Disorder

The difficulties a child or an adult with SPD encounters can lead to low self-esteem, isolation and avoidance of certain activities impacting on both their relationships and their learning. Life with SPD can be more challenging and mean the world in which we live can be all the more confusing, difficult to navigate and cope with. Anxiety, depression, OCD and stress related disorders are common in adults with sensory processing disorders.

Sensory strategies are always worth exploring. But, there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach. Understanding how our sensory systems work and the different types of sensory processing disorders is important for you to be able to choose the right sensory strategies and that will provide the most benefit.

Sensory Wise works to raise awareness of the importance of our Sensory Processing and how vital it is for learning, behaviour and life in general.

We have a wider social aim to affect a change in attitudes and the way people see and think about visible ‘difference’ and hidden differences like Sensory Processing Difficulties and Autism.

At Sensory Wise, we want you to feel better equipped to support the children and adults you care for.

Be Sensory Wise – Change perceptions, change lives.

Lucy, Sensory Wise DIrector

The only input our brains get is through our sensory systems. With the right sensory balance, either through play fitness or sports, we can help ourselves and those around us with Sensory Processing Difficulties live more fulfilling lives and achieve better social, emotional and academic outcomes.

The Sensory Wise Resource Hub is a free comprehensive special needs information resource.

Easy to read and jargon free, the Sensory Wise Resource Hub is written and designed by a parent to help support other parents, carers, relatives and professionals who work with children and adults.

Get to grips with the complex topic of sensory processing difficulties and Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) a neurological condition commonly experienced by many people in mainstream education and employment and, in particular, people on the Autistic Spectrum.

Being Sensory Wise is not just about knowing what our senses are but also how they work together and impact on our daily lives. When our senses are not working together effectively, life can be challenging and frustrating. This can affect how we interact with others, behave, feel and learn.

Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) and sensory difficulties are hidden differences that can present themselves as social, emotional, learning and behaviour problems. By looking closer at our sensory processing we can learn to understand how vital it is to everyday life and how sometimes the smallest changes can make the biggest difference.

Explore the Sensory Wise Resource Hub where you can find out about sensory processing difficulties and learn how they can impact our choices, learning and behaviour –  Where to next? Learn more about Our Senses and SPD ◆ Or find out more about What can we do?

Visit Our Services section to arrange a visit, book us for an event or to register your interest in our workshops and training.


Sensory Wise Training and Workshops

The information and links provided on our website are a great starting point for anyone who is looking to learn more about sensory processing difficulties.

Sensory Wise Training and Workshops can help you to learn more about the complex topic of sensory processing disorders (SPD).

You will be able to extend your knowledge and further understand how you can support children and adults better.

Book the Sensory Wise Pop-Up Shop for the end of the session.

To enquire about Sensory Wise Training and Workshops please complete the form below:


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