Although it is not yet recognized as an official diagnosis, sensory processing disorder is a condition that may affect the way a child receives and interprets sensory information. So how is sensory processing disorder treated, and how can parents help ensure their child is receiving the best care?
The good news is your family has many options for treatment. According to WebMD, your child may be able to get treatment from for sensory processing disorder from an occupational therapist. Depending on your area, you may have many therapists to choose from. According to the STAR Institute, a therapist who is a good fit for your child will provide one-on-one treatment, use play as a way to increase your kid's sensory opportunities, and communicate openly with you to further tailor your child's treatment effectively. Broadly speaking, you want to find a therapist who is skilled at helping sensory processing disorder patients and willing to work with you and your family to find the best path of treatment.
That said, individual therapists may pursue specific methods of treatment for your child. Sensory integration therapy is one such method. As noted by Understood.org, sensory integration therapy encourages children to get accustomed to sensory stimuli in a controlled, repetitive way. As further explained by Understood.org, children may be encouraged to play with materials such as clay, balance boards, or specialized equipment. The basic idea is that, over time, your kid can adjust to different types of stimulation in a structured environment and gradually learn to use these skills in the world as a whole.
Another method of treatment is the Developmental, Individual Difference, Relationship-based (DIR) model. As explained by the The Interdisciplinary Council on Development and Learning (ICDL), the DIR model encourages parents and counselors to follow the child's lead at playtime, while also encouraging the mastery of more complex social and intellectual skills. As further explained by the ICDL, the DIR model also invites caretakers to get down on the floor and meet the child eye-to-eye to better facilitate understanding and communication. The basic idea is that the emotional closeness fostered by this type of child-led play will help the kid's developmental and sensory growth as well, because the caretaker will have a better sense of how to speak the kid's language.
Although learning that your child may have sensory processing disorder likely comes as a shock to many parents, there are plenty of individualized treatment options available.