How Sensory Processing Disorder Looks A Lot Like ADHD

Sensory Processing Disorder is not just about itchy tags. It is a complex and multi-faceted condition that is often mistaken for ADHD, anxiety, and other conditions. A must-read for parents by the author of "The Out-of-Sync Child."

Typical Sensory Processing

Senses serve a number of purposes. First and foremost, they keep us safe — they tell us that a Frisbee is coming toward our head, for example — and we need to duck! Once we’re safe, we can follow up on sensory stimuli, and start to learn. This is called discrimination — we can look at the people playing Frisbee and teach ourselves what they’re doing, so maybe next time we can jump up and catch the Frisbee and start to play.

Next, we use our senses for satisfaction  — we identify things that feel good, and we continue to do those things because they bring us joy. Finally, we need our senses for action — we plan out what we’d like to do, then combine our senses together to execute the action.

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