What You Need To Know About Sensory Processing Disorder

While approximately 10% of school-aged children experience some form of Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) – a condition that was recently diagnosed as a form of autism, SPD has only recently received its own diagnosis. Because many of the symptoms of SPD overlap with those of children who have ADHD or are on the autism spectrum, diagnosis has been challenging for doctors.

sensory processing disorder

What is Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)?

Sensory processing is the ability to take in sensory information from the world around us and interpret this information effectively so that we may function optimally throughout the day. The brain not only processes information through the senses of touch, taste, smell, sight and sound, but the nervous system also interprets this sensory information and translates it into movement, body position and pressure.

Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) occurs when the nervous system has difficulty regulating, processing, and interpreting information from one or more of the senses. This may affect one’s ability to function optimally in all environments, and these difficulties can adversely affect a child’s social skills, academic performance, and motor development.

Different children perceive and process sensory information differently. Some children find loud noises scary, while others search for interesting ways to create noise. Similarly, some children may only tolerate certain fabrics or textures for clothing, while others may enjoy rolling around in grass, sand, or on the carpet. All children and adults have different sensory preferences, and while most adults have learned to adapt to their specific needs, some children need guidance in processing sensory information to reach their full potential.

sensory processing disorder

Are There Treatment Options For SPD?

For many individuals, music or sound therapy is the answer to training the brain to process sensory information correctly. Organizations such as Millennium Learning Advantage recognize that the brain is capable of change, regeneration and growth, and use brain-based learning and cognitive enhancement programs that are specifically designed to fine-tune the brain’s ability to comprehend and manage information to help children with various needs achieve success.

Hear what one mom had to say about The Listening Program – a unique program designed to address auditory processing issues (one of the many programs available at Millennium Learning Advantage):

For more information on sound therapy and sensory processing programs,  visit millenniumlearningadvantage.com.

The WestCoast Families July August issues is full of information and resources for families with special needs. Pick up a copy from a location near you, or read the current issue online here.

CAN Support for Parents of Children with Autism

by Karen Owen

For a parent of a child with autism, it is easy to remember that exact moment in time when the dreams you had for your child shatter before your eyes.

In 2008, my husband and I listened in shock and disbelief as medical professional diagnosed our son, Oliver, as a non-verbal autistic. In the following years, we worked to navigate the overwhelming world of autism but struggled to find adequate support. My husband and I learned that it was easier to stay home than attempt public outings because of the risk of meltdowns, tantrums and resulting stares. We were living a life of isolation.

Then one day, we heard about the Canucks Autism Network (CAN). My older boys were seven and five at the time and lived in separate worlds. We were desperate for help so we decided to attend CAN’s soccer camp. We had low expectations. Little did we know, our lives were about to change.

When we arrived back home after the camp, something amazing happened. My boys went into our backyard and passed the ball back and forth. My eyes welled with tears. I immediately called the Canucks Autism Network office to thank them. For the first time ever, my two boys were acting like brothers.

Two years later, we learned that our youngest son also had autism. As you can imagine, it was an incredibly difficult time for us. However, the emotional weight was lifted because of our involvement with the Canucks Autism Network. This time around, we had a community of support.

Over the years I have met so many families like mine, all of whom have gone through the same denial, anger and sadness. Thanks to CAN, we have now found hope, happiness and connection. Because of CAN, my boys have life skills and abilities that I never imagined possible. They can now play soccer, swim, ski and skate and I am thrilled to say that my middle son Oliver is now on the CAN hockey team.

CAN transported our family from a world of isolation into a world of hope and possibility and for this I am eternally grateful.

Help Raise Money for Autism Now

For parents of children with autism, accessing programs while raising awareness is vital, and Choices Markets has answered the call.

Choices Markets will host its 4th annual Puzzle Piece Campaign from August 1-12 at all eleven of its British Columbia stores. During the campaign, stores across the province will raise funds through the sale and purchase of puzzle pieces and there will also be charity barbecues on August 13th at all Choices locations. All contributions will go directly to Autism Speaks Canada to fund research, advocacy and community programs, as well as provide support for families across Canada that are impacted by autism spectrum disorder.

Autism Speaks Canada, is part of North America’s largest autism science and advocacy organization working both locally and nationally, to increase awareness about autism spectrum disorder, fund autism research and family services, and advocate for the needs of individuals with autism and their families in British Columbia and across all of Canada.

For more information, please visit www.choicesmarkets.com/news or call 604-952-2266.

For more information about Autism Speaks Canada, please visit www.autismspeaks.ca or call 1-888-362-6227.

1st Annual National Moms 2 Moms Sale in support of Autism


On Saturday, May 1, Unity for Autism and Just Playdates are teaming up to attempt a World Record Setting Jumble Sale across Canada. This Jumble Sale is a Mom 2 Mom sale, which means moms in communities across Canada will unite on one day in various community locations to sell all child related items, ranging, but not limited to, strollers, clothes, toys and children’s furniture. [Read more…]