October is Sensory Awareness Month

Sensory Processing Awareness MonthDuring October, parents, educators, caregivers, and many others help increase awareness of National Sensory Processing Disorder Awareness Month (also known as SPD Awareness Month) to educate others on how Sensory Processing Disorders affect the nervous system and turn messages received from our senses into motor and behavioral responses.

Spreading knowledge about different challenges people face is an important first step for increasing awareness in our communities. The more people know about Sensory Processing Disorder, the more likely those affected by the condition can receive the help they need. Knowledge is power!

Unsure where to start? Here are some facts about Sensory Processing Disorder:

Q. What is sensory processing?

A. Our senses send messages to our body’s nervous system, which then receives, interprets and responds to the environment around us. Sensory Processing Disorder affects this series of events, causing difficulty responding to these incoming messages in an appropriate way.

Q. How common is Sensory Processing Disorder?

A. Research shows that at least 1 in 20 kids are affected by this condition on a daily basis. At least 80 percent of children on the autism spectrum have Sensory Processing Disorder.

Q. What are some ways Sensory Processing Disorder affects people?

A. Sensory Processing Disorder disrupts everyday life, especially motor and behavioral functions. Seemingly routine activities can be more difficult. For children, sensory overload can affect attention, coordination and impulsivity as they try to regulate the sensations they feel.

Q. What are some ways children with Sensory Processing Disorder can receive help?

A. Play-based strategies, often aided by an occupational therapist, can help children better process sensory information. Families can then practice these activities in a fun, sensory-rich environment like the playground.

For more information to share during National Sensory Awareness Month and beyond, check out the Sensory Processing Disorder Foundation.

You can also read our Inclusive Play Design Guide to learn about making play accessible to everyone, regardless of the challenges they face.

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