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What are Sensory Processing disorders?

Chun Hung Mei

Sensory processing disorders are a group of disorders that affect the normal functioning of the nervous system, with clinical manifestations involving sensory, cognitive, and motor aspects. This thesis aims to delve into the study of sensory processing disorders, exploring key aspects of their definition, etiology, diagnosis, treatment, and management, to provide a more comprehensive understanding for both the medical community and patients.

Sensory processing disorder is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by abnormal processing and response to sensory stimuli. This means that the patient's nervous system has problems receiving, interpreting, and responding to sensory information, resulting in compromised appropriate responses to everyday stimuli.

The development of sensory processing disorders is closely related to internal faults in the nervous system as well as external environmental factors. Genetic factors, environmental contaminants, and lifestyle choices can be potential risk factors for the disorder. Patients are usually diagnosed with the disorder and have serious problems socializing in the future society, such as severe anxiety and sensitivity due to misunderstanding others' words. 

Symptoms of sensory processing disorder involve sensory disorders, cognitive deficits, and motor problems. Doctors diagnose this disorder through a series of examinations and tests, such as neuroimaging and neurophysiology. Sensory processing disorder usually first becomes apparent in childhood but may continue into adulthood. The disorder may be associated with other neurodevelopmental disorders, autism spectrum disorders, etc., but can also exist independently. 

Treatment often includes rehabilitation, behavioral therapy, and other forms of support to help the individual adapt to and process sensory input. The exact causes and mechanisms of sensory processing disorders are still being researched, and knowledge and understanding of the disorder continue to evolve. 

Currently, treatments for sensory processing disorders include medications, physical therapy, and rehabilitation measures. Physicians may take selective serotonin receptor reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) to help improve the patient's mood state. Doctors may also consider the use of anti-anxiety medications such as benzodiazepines (e.g., alprazolam, lorazepam) or other anti-anxiety drugs. However, these medications need to be used with caution as they can create dependence.

Provide a detailed description of the prognosis and possible recovery of patients with sensory processing disorder, as well as possible complications. Provide the patient's and family's expectations for the future development of the disease to help them better cope with possible challenges. Complications in patients with sensory processing disorder can be the cause of many challenges in daily life, affecting the patient's social, academic, and behavioral functioning.

As of the latest 2021 data, research in the field of neuroscience continues to explore the characteristics of the nervous system in patients with sensory processing disorders. Using brain imaging techniques such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and electroencephalography (EEG), researchers are trying to understand the patterns of activity in the brains of people with sensory processing disorders and how these patterns relate to symptoms.

The exact method of prevention for sensory processing disorder has not yet been established, but some lifestyle and environmental practices may help to mitigate its effects. Early intervention, especially in infancy and early childhood, may help slow the progression of symptoms by providing appropriate sensory stimulation and rehabilitation. Creating a safe, sensory-rich environment for children and providing families with education on sensory processing can help increase the level of parental understanding and support. Regular child developmental check-ups may help identify potential problems early. A healthy lifestyle, including a balanced diet, adequate sleep, and moderate exercise, is essential for proper neurological development.

The impact of sensory processing disorders on an individual's quality of life and daily functioning is inevitable. Although there is no definitive method of prevention, practices such as early intervention, provision of appropriate sensory stimulation, rehabilitation therapy, and family support and education may help to alleviate the symptoms and improve the patient's ability to adapt.


Goodman, Brenda. “Sensory Processing Disorder: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment.” WebMD, WebMD, 14 Mar. 2023,\

Holland, Kimberly. “Sensory Processing Disorder: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 1 Mar. 2022,

“Sensory Processing Disorder.” Sensory Processing Disorder | HealthLink BC, Accessed 5 Feb. 2024. 

“Understanding Sensory Processing Disorder.” Sensory Processing - STAR Institute,  Accessed 5 Feb. 2024. 

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