Sensory processing, sometimes called 'sensory integration' (SI) is a term that refers to the way an individual's nervous system receives messages from each of the senses and turns them into appropriate motor (physical) and behavioural actions.

Sensory processing disorder, SPD, formerly known as Sensory Integration Dysfunction, is a condition when the nervous system does not receive or organise messages from the senses- olfactory (smell), Visual, Gustatory (taste), Auditory (hearing), Tactile (touch), Proprioception (knowing where your body is) and Vestibular (balance). Without effective sensory registration and organisation, the developing child cannot effectively interpret the world around them. The child may be only affected in one sense e.g. just touch or just sight or just movement–or in multiple senses. Some children with SPD may over-respond to sensation and find clothing, physical contact, light, sound, food, or other sensory input to be intolerable. Many other children might under-respond and show little or no reaction to stimulation, even pain or extreme hot and cold. Sometimes these children may be misdiagnosed with a variety of other conditions.

For many undiagnosed adults, poor sensory processing affects their ability to have good relationships, study, work and leisure activities. Unsurprisingly this can result in underachieving and possible social isolation or depression.

Declan McNichol

Bill Young

Angela Gordon

Birgit Rathje-Vale

Helen Smart