Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Zeitgeist Alert: Sensory Disorders in The Science Times

Well, it's nice to be au courant. Today's Science Times has an article about the battle raging around sensory integration problems in children - do they qualify as a disorder? And, given the fact that some children most definitely experience symptoms, how can they be treated?

Occupational therapies for hypersensitivity combine gradual exposure to the offending stimuli, and conditioning techniques that calm over-arousal while in the presence of the stimuli so that the child becomes more and more used to it . Hyposensitivity (under sensitivity) does the opposite.

I always distrust campaigns for new disorders to be named, it can bias the work behavioral scientists are doing. But that seems to be the fashion nowadays. Having dealt in the lab with children who have ADHD and autism for only short periods of time, I can't blame the parents whose kids have real problems, who deal with them day in and day out, and who desparately want solutions for them.


Anonymous said...

My nephew is in OT now for a sensory disorder. He can deal with people singing and he can deal with individual sounds, but when there's music playing AND people singing or just lots of noise he completely freaks out and starts bawling and has to get away. That's not a good thing as he just started school and is immersed in lots of sound all the time in the classroom. So they've been working on it and he's able to pay attention and interact better with his classmates. At first I thought it was a heap of bs but now, having seen him in large crowds and doing well, I'm starting to thing otherwise.

Ted said...

There are most certainly individual differences in sensory processing. Of that there's no doubt. I'm glad your nephew has found an effective therapy. I'll be interested to see whether we notice patterns of differences in the kids we're seeing at the lab, and whether any biological markers will be linked to groups of similar differences in the future.