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Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)

Sensory processing disorder (SPD) is a condition that affects the way the brain processes information from the senses. People with SPD are often oversensitive to certain sensory input, such as light, sound, or touch. This can make everyday experiences, such as going to a loud concert or getting a haircut, very difficult to tolerate.

SPD can also cause people to be under-sensitive to sensory input. This means they may not notice when they are injured or may not feel pain as strongly as others.

SPD can lead to difficulties in school, work, and social situations. It can also make it hard to complete everyday tasks, such as getting dressed or brushing teeth.

How is SPD diagnosed?

SPD can be difficult to diagnose because there is no one test that can definitively diagnose the condition. Instead, diagnosis is often based on a combination of observations, medical history, and testing.

One of the first steps in diagnosis is to rule out other conditions that can cause similar symptoms. This can be done with a physical exam and a review of the person's medical history. If SPD is suspected, the next step is to look for evidence of sensory processing difficulties. This can be done with a variety of tests, including:

-Observational assessments

-Questionnaires and checklists

-Psychological testing

-Neurological testing

Once SPD is diagnosed, treatment can begin. Treatment typically involves a combination of occupational therapy and behavioral therapy.

Coping mechanisms for SPD

There are many things that people with SPD can do to help themselves cope with the condition. Some common coping mechanisms include:

- Identifying and avoidance of triggers

- Use of a weighted blanket or vest

- Use of pressure-relieving tools such as chews or fidgets

- Use of noise-cancelling headphones

- Creation of a safe space

- Use of calming essential oils

- Guided meditation or relaxation exercises

- Finding a safe place to retreat to when overwhelmed

- Avoiding overcrowded places

- Taking breaks during extended periods of sensory input

- Keeping a journal to track triggers and reactions

Resources for those with SPD

If you are living with SPD, know that you are not alone. There are many resources available to help you manage your condition and improve your quality of life. Here are some of the top Canadian resources for those with SPD:

- The SPD Foundation of Canada: This foundation is dedicated to helping those with SPD through education, awareness, and support. They offer a variety of resources, including a helpline, support groups, and educational materials.

- The Canadian Mental Health Association: The CMHA provides support and resources for those with mental health conditions, including SPD. They offer online and telephone support, as well as a variety of helpful resources.

- The Canadian Association for the Advancement of Science: The CAAS is a national organization that promotes the advancement of science and its applications. They offer a variety of resources for those with SPD

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