Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)

Before reading about SPD, please watch this video with child’s point of view on sensory processing. Child is diagnosed with ASD (autism spectrum disorder)
Video: Sensory Processing Disorder by child’s view on the problem

Sensory processing is the process of organizing sensations from environment and from body to develop and produce adaptive responses and to function efficiently.
Sensory integration is just a frame of references used by therapists to treat sensory processing dysfunction/disorder (SPD).

What senses/sensory systems are involved: vision, auditory, taste, smell, touch, vestibular (movement and had position), proprioceptive (sense of muscles and joints, tells about body, controls amount of force muscles should generate to protein task – you may see it when child had difficulties grading strength of pencil grip and pressure on pencil).

SPD has different types: 
Sensory Modulation Disorder (SMD): 
1. Sensory over-responsivity (hyperresponsivity/defensiveness). Could be aggressive avoiding stimuli like touch, sound (covering ears, avoiding crowded noisy places), texture
2. Sens. under-responsive (lethargic, slow)
Both types of disorders are sensory seeking, but seeking different types of stimuli. First is looking for stimuli to calm themselves down. Second – to increase arousal state.

Sensory modulation is directed to improve high level skill called self-regulation which involves other components (behavioral, cognitive, social emotional).
Working on sensory processing deficits requires family support and providing “sensory diet” activities. (See below link to resources).
After an assessment of a child (SPM sensory processing measure) plan school and home activities including sensory diet (sensory strategies,  environmental modifications). 

Sensory diet (Patricia Wilbarger) – repeated beneficial sensory input to modulate sensory system. There is positive feedback on benefits of using movement, deep pressure, weighed vests, discs, brushing protocol and other elements and activities of sensory diet (there is no evidence-based proven research, demonstrating positive effect. Effect must be monitored over long period of time and adjusted according to the child’s needs and responses).

To be continued

materials from online resources and autism workshops provided by different organizations were used in this article. Full list of references will be published later.

Pattern Blocks and Boards by Melissa and Doug

Pattern Blocks and Boards by Melissa and Doug

About this toy/activity: Features 10 simply-designed, colorful patterns, and over 100 pattern blocks in 6 different shapes and colors to replicate the pattern shown. Contents store neatly in a durable wooden case. 

Develops: shape recognition and spatial relations, visual memory, visual-perceptual skills, matching skills and fine-motor skills, attention on task, focusing and problem solving skills.

Ages: 4+

SPD and Sensory Integration Activities


Children need and love play doh and messy play, unless they have tactile defensiveness that is. There are so many versions of play doh, from pre-package to homemade, scented to unscented, textured to non-textured, cooked to uncooked. You name it, I have found a recipe for it. Check out Play Doh Recipes… here you will find dozens of fun recipes which make tactile experiences messy and fun!

Children need to touch a variety of textures and play with them to develop normal tactile processing.  If your child will not play with messy items, it is even more important that you continue to find fun and creative ways to introduce these to them.

Check out the SPD Symptoms Checklist to find out if your child shows signs of tactile dysfunction.

You will also want to take a look at General Treatment Guidelines for helpful hints on how to introduce these materials to your child safely and effectively so they can learn how best to process this input.

Need modeling dough or accessories to use with it? Visit The Crayola Store for additional fun products to use!


These types of activities are imperative for children who have difficulty regulating their arousal levels. They are the crashers, the jumpers, the leg shakers, the ones that can’t ever seem to sit still. Boy, can they try your patience as a parent, teacher or even therapist! Regular heavy input into their neurological systems WILL help calm them down.

The premise behind these activities is to help their bodies receive
regular input into their muscles and joints in the most appropriate ways so they can get the input they crave and settle their bodies down.

You will see and hear a lot about heavy work activities. Often these activities will include using weights, weighted products, jumping, bouncing, rocking, pushing, pulling, swinging and being “squished”.

All kids need this! But, our children with under-reactive neurological systems will need it even more.  These activities are truly used for most sensory processing issues and can have an amazing affect on the nervous system for regulation and modulation.

Hint: Always best to precede a sit down task with a heavy work activity.

Check out an extensive list of Heavy Work Activities I have compiled. Have fun trying them all!  These activities should indeed be a big part of your daily sensory diet.  Also, check out my Heavy Work Equipment And Activities Store for jumping, bouncing, moving and rocking products, as well as books for great game ideas!

Digging and playing in the sand is also a great way to give your body heavy input (as well as tactile experiences). Check out this e-book… How To Build Your Own Awesome Toy Backhoe.

Aimee Copeland shows off her bionic hands

Flesh eating bacteria victim, Aimee Copeland shows off her new bionic hands and says her ‘life is full of blessings’. She shows amazing job in manipulating objects and controlling movement. These new bionic hands are expensive, but they allow patients to be more independent in activities of daily living (ADLs). 

Early Intervention program in New York

Early Intervention program is assisting families and children to improve child’s health and functional performance related to variable disabilities or delays. It was recently reviewed and some changes were implemented to make it more efficient and reduce cost of it for New York State and New York City.

Early Childhood and Developmental Milestones

This post is created for parents mostly to review and approximately estimate developmental skills of your children from birth to first 40 months. You may look at the link provided below to identify if your child’s skills listed in the summery are appropriate for his/her calendar age. If you notice any abnormalities, difficulties in motor function, behavior, please talk to your pediatrician without delays and get referral for Early Intervention evaluations (if necessary). Remember, if your child was born prematurely, you will have to make an adjustment of age by number of months the child was born earlier.

Snapshots will be posted to explain step-by-step how to use this calculator and table.
developmental milestones (infants and toddlers)

Ethan Bortnick – 8 Years old piano player

The story behind a rising star in the music and entertainment world, Ethan is a young musician, composer, and entertainer who has captivated the world one performance at a time. You won’t believe what he has done at age 8.. Just Watch!

Another amazing piano player – superstar musician with autism. A blind severely autistic man, Derek, is known as the Human ipod. By the age of four his family realised that after hearing a song only once he could play it perfectly on the piano. Now, 25 years later Derek has a repertoire of well over 20,000 songs that he can play instantly from memory. In this clip he is taking requests from the audience at a concert set out to give the limelight to some severely autistic people.

Education: How to become COTA – certified occupational therapy assistant

Want to become a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant, but not sure where to start? The path to your future career as a therapist assistant can be a little confusing, but if you follow these simple steps you will be on your way to an exciting and rewarding career!

In this video you learn best practices and what to expect when becoming a COTA. It briefly guides you through: finding the right college for your Occupational Therapy education, setting up your application to take the NBCOT COTA exam, scheduling and taking your exam, and then applying to become a COTA.

Want to know more about an education in Occupational Therapy Assistant? Contact Stanbridge College at (888) 538-4913 or visit for more information.

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Harlequin ichthyosis (Skin Disorder) educational and inspirational video

Harlequin ichthyosis
Harlequin Ichtyosis

Inspirational: 14yr Old Girl With Harlequin Ichthyosis (Skin Disorder) Wants To Be Accepted In The World & Letting People Know Not To Judge (Doing Speeches To Uplift Children With The Same Issues)

What is harlequin ichthyosis?

Harlequin ichthyosis is a severe genetic disorder that mainly affects the skin. Infants with this condition are born with very hard, thick skin covering most of their bodies. The skin forms large, diamond-shaped plates that are separated by deep cracks (fissures). These skin abnormalities affect the shape of the eyelids, nose, mouth, and ears, and limit movement of the arms and legs. Restricted movement of the chest can lead to breathing difficulties and respiratory failure.

The skin normally forms a protective barrier between the body and its surrounding environment. The skin abnormalities associated with harlequin ichthyosis disrupt this barrier, making it more difficult for affected infants to control water loss, regulate their body temperature, and fight infections. Infants with harlequin ichthyosis often experience an excessive loss of fluids (dehydration) and develop life-threatening infections in the first few weeks of life. It used to be very rare for affected infants to survive the newborn period. However, with intensive medical support and improved treatment, people with this disorder now have a better chance of living into childhood and adolescence.

How common is harlequin ichthyosis?

Harlequin ichthyosis is very rare; its exact incidence is unknown.

Where can I find additional information about harlequin ichthyosis?

You may find the following resources about harlequin ichthyosis helpful. These materials are written for the general public.