Sensory Processing Disorder in Children with ASD

April 22, 2023

Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) is a condition that affects how the brain processes and responds to sensory information from the environment. It can manifest in many ways, such as over-sensitivity or under-sensitivity to touch, taste, smell, sound, and visual stimuli. 

Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) are more likely to have SPD–some studies suggest that up to 80% of children with ASD also have SPD! 

While there are many similarities between ASD and SPD, the two are distinct conditions. ASD is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects social communication, behavior, and interests, while SPD is a sensory processing disorder that affects the way sensory information is processed in the brain.

The exact reason why SPD is so common in children with autism is not fully understood. But many believe that it is related to differences in the way the brain processes sensory information. Children with autism may have difficulty integrating and processing sensory information in effective ways, leading to sensory processing difficulties.

Here are the three different types of sensory processing disorder: 

  1. Sensory Modulation Disorder– Sensory modulation disorder refers to difficulty regulating and responding appropriately to certain sensory stimuli. 
  1. Sensory Discrimination Disorder– This type of SPD is when an individual has difficulty differentiating between certain sensory stimuli.
  1. Sensory-Based Motor Disorder– This form of SPD refers to difficulty with motor planning and movements in response to sensory information.

ABA therapy can be an effective intervention for children with both autism and SPD. ABA therapists can work with children to identify their specific sensory processing difficulties and develop strategies to help them cope with and regulate sensory information.

For example, BCBAs may use a sensory diet, which involves incorporating specific sensory activities into a child’s daily routine to help them regulate their nervous system. Therapists may also work one-on-one with children to develop self-regulation skills, such as deep breathing or mindfulness exercises, to help them cope with sensory overload.

As a commonly occurring condition in children with ASD, SPD can significantly impact your child’s ability to function appropriately in his/her environment. But through ABA therapy, this condition can be addressed–and we are here to help! 

At Step Forward ABA we are here to help your child cope with sensory overload, or underload, through effective ABA therapy strategies. Developing a personalized plan that is tailored to your child’s specific goals, our certified and experienced team curates and implements ABA therapy plans that enable your child to step into their full potential. Get in touch with us today to learn more about ABA therapy for your child in New Mexico, Florida, or North Carolina! 

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