Pediatrics: Tailoring Care for Kids

Caring for Children With Sensory Processing Disorders
By Deborah Dotson, RDH, PhD; Michelle Johnson, PhD, RDN, LDN; and Christy Isbell, PhD, OTR/L

The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that one in six children has one or more neurodevelopmental disorders, including autism spectrum disorder (ASD), attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, or an intellectual disability disorder. While not defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders as an independent disorder, sensory processing disorders are increasingly recognized by clinicians in individuals who have problems interacting with the world through their senses. Typical human behavior includes the ability to receive input from one or more senses (such as vision, touch, or hearing), identify them in the brain, and respond appropriately. An individual with a sensory processing disorder has difficulty receiving and responding to these sensory messages. As a result, interactions with the environment are not predictable.

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