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Sensory Processing | Ep 104

Updated: Nov 15, 2021

Connect with S.U.C.C.E.S.S. Podcast - Episode 4, Launch Date: April 28, 2021

With Dr. Richard Smith and Dr. Lynette Scotese-Wojtila Guest: Ellen Winney

Subject: Sensory Processing

Listen on major podcast platforms, and here:

Episode 4 is focused on Sensory Processing. What is sensory processing? By definition, sensory processing is the process through which we register, process, and interpret sensory information so we can organize it and use it for function. Sensory processing occurs at the most primitive parts of the brain.

Where do sensory processing issues show up?

If a child does not listen and respond to what is being asked of them, it might be a sensory processing issue -- and not a behavioral reason.

Ellen Winney shares research done in 2010 that revealed: "Adults and teens with autism identify sensory processing challenges as their number one area of difficulty. This disordered sensory processing has been associated with impaired daily living skills, poor social participation, anxiety and depressive symptoms.

So it's critical that we truly understand the role that sensory processing plays, not only in children, but if it's not addressed in children, how it can linger into young adulthood and adulthood and continue to cause issues. And when you look at sensory processing it really is the foundation for every other skill. You cannot have good attention skills, if you don't have good sensory processing. You don't have good eye hand coordination, if you don't have sensory processing good sensory processing."

What is affected by poor sensory processing? Ellen Winney responds: "Impaired daily living skills, so that's a pretty broad category that can go into a lot of things in and of itself, but 1) daily living skills, 2) poor social participation, 3) anxiety and 4) depressive symptoms."

Dr. Lynette Scotese-Wojtila adds: "These are heavy things that our kids and adults deal with -- and their families. And, again, sometimes we're not really in tune to the difficulty. And so if we're missing the sensory processing problems, we're not understanding the behavior. And then the person experiencing the issue doesn't have the support. And so not only that, they're likely to maybe have those kinds of outcomes with anxiety or depressive disorders, they don't have a sense that there's any other way to be."

Episode 4 Challenge: The challenge for parents and teachers is to identify signs of poor processing in your child with autism. Look for signs of poor sensory processing:

- How does your child respond to touch? - How do they do with smell? - What do they look like when they're done moving? - Are they seeking out too much movement? Look for signs for processing, and if you have a hunch that you found some, consult with an occupational therapist to help identify it, the intensity or extent of it, and the best way to treat it.

Listen to Episode 4 of Connect with S.U.C.C.E.S.S. on major podcast platforms, and here:

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