How to Treat Sensory Processing Disorder

Treating SPD with Therapy

SPD treatment often means working with an occupational therapist on activities that help retrain the senses. Many therapists use a sensory integration (OT-SI) approach that begins in a controlled, stimulating environment, and focuses on making SPD easier to manage in day-to-day life. OT-SI uses fun, stimulating activities to challenge patients’ senses without overwhelming them or linking stimulation to feelings of failure. Over time, the goal is to extend these learned, appropriate responses outside of the clinic to home, school, and life.

Treatment may include a “sensory diet” wherein activities are introduced in a gentle, fun way in order to ease into a range of sensations. This approach is most effective with patients who practice at home. Depending on the senses affected, therapy may also include:

  • Physical therapy using a sensory integration approach (PT-SI)
  • Vision therapy to improve eye-motor skills for people who have trouble reading, merging into traffic, or writing
  • Listening therapy (LT), which asks people with auditory issues to listen to a variety of sound frequencies and patterns to stimulate the brain while doing other motor tasks like walking on a balance beam
  • Psychotherapy for people who have developed a mood disorder or anxiety because of SPD
  • Speech and language therapy

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