October is Sensory Processing Disorder and Dyslexia Awareness Month!
Though October is almost over, we want to recognize it for being sensory processing disorder and dyslexia awareness month, and take the opportunity to provide some brief information about both.
Sensory processing is the way in which we receive information (through our senses), organize this information, and use it to participate in everyday activities. Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) is a condition that affects how the brain processes sensory information, such as the things we see, hear, smell, taste, and touch.
The 8 sensory systems include:
- Visual (sight)
- Auditory (hearing)
- Gustatory (taste)
- Olfactory (smell)
- Tactile (touch)
- Vestibular (sense of movement and place in space)
- Proprioceptive (sensations from muscles/joints)
- Interoception (sensations related to the physiological/physical condition of the body)
Most often, SPD means that a person is overly sensitive to typical sensory information. But the disorder can cause the opposite effect, too. In these cases, it takes more sensory information to impact a person’s awareness. SPD can affect one sense or multiple senses. Children who have SPD may have difficulty with sensory input such as sounds, clothing, and food textures, or they may underreact to sensory input, which causes them to crave more intense stimuli. Some examples include jumping from tall heights or swinging too high on the playground. Of course, people with SPD are not always one or the other — they can be a mixture of oversensitive and undersensitive.
If you missed it, check out our article on therapeutic activities to do at home, which has some great ideas for supporting sensory and motor development, including DIY ways to meet a child’s sensory needs at home.
Dyslexia is a learning difference that primarily affects reading, though it can also affect writing (known as dysgraphia), spelling, and speaking. People with dyslexia can find it difficult to isolate sounds, match sounds to letters, or blend sounds into words. Signs of dyslexia include struggling with reading, difficulty memorizing sight words, avoiding reading out loud, not understanding what has been read, poor spelling and grammar, confusing the order of letters, trouble following a sequence of instructions, and difficulty organizing thoughts when speaking.
Dysgraphia involves difficulty with the physical act of writing, and can result in challenges with organizing and expressing thoughts and ideas in written form. Signs of dysgraphia include illegible handwriting, mixing print and cursive letters, poor spelling and grammar, run-on sentences, difficulty gripping a pen or pencil, incorrect punctuation, and trouble organizing information when writing.
If you missed it, check out these great learning resources that can help kids with reading and literacy.
And don’t miss our awesome list of accommodations that can help with SPD and dyslexia/dysgraphia.