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Copyright 2006 Julie Shepherd Knapp
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Copyright 2006 Julie Shepherd Knapp.  All rights reserved.
about the book
The Homeschool Diner's Guide to
Special Needs Homeschooling


Dysfunctional Sensory Integration (DSI)
aka Sensory Integration Disorder (SID)
aka Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)
aka Dabrowski's Overexcitabilities (OE's)

by Julie Shepherd Knapp, copyright 2006


Sensory processing refers to how we experience our surroundings.  
How we take in information through our senses (touch, movement,
smell, taste, vision, and hearing), organize and interpret that
information, and make a meaningful and appropriate response.

Most people process information about their surroundings without even
thinking about it.  Lights may be glaringly bright, but we squint and
ignore them.   A room full of noisy people may make conversation
difficult, but we talk louder and listen harder.  Most of us never notice if
our sock has a wrinkle in it, or care if our food is lumpy.   But for people
with sensory processing disorders, these situations bombard their
senses, feeling more like an attack than a nuisance.

Sensory processing issues can make it difficult for children to
concentrate, and may be misinterpreted as signs of ADD.  Their
seeming "over-reaction" to sensory input can also be misinterpreted as
behavioral issues.

When a child is unable to cope with typical daily doses of noise,
fluorescent lights, scratchy tags, food textures, and jostling crowds -
parents may seek help from Occupational Therapists (OT's) that are
trained in sensory processing issues.   Therapy can reduce the child's
anxiety and help them cope with and minimize their sensitivities.

At the opposite end of sensory processing issues, there are also
children who seem oblivious to their senses.  They seem to feel no pain
and fear nothing.  They may love rough-housing, and try to get other
children to wrestle with them, not realizing that others don't enjoy it.  
They may be spinners or rockers, and often love spicy or sour foods.  
Therapy can help these children to be more aware of their senses, help
them moderate their behavior, and help their families provide a daily
"sensory diet" rich in sensory experiences.



Resources for DSI:
(specific to gifted children)

What is Sensory Processing Disorder?  -- info from The Kid's
Foundation SPD Network

The Out of Sync Child -- excerpts from the book, gives examples of
several children with DSI

What are Dabrowski's OE's? -- a brief summary by Stephanie Tolan

Retained Primitive Reflexes by by KEITH KEEN of Sydney, Australia
--  describes how unresolved infantile reflexes can impact children's
sensory processing and coping mechanisms, problems include anxiety,
panic attacks, poor coordination, and selective mutism

Sensory Homeschool --  for thos homeschooling a child who has
Sensory Processing Dysfunction or Sensory Integration Disorder

What is a Sensory Diet?  Does your child need one? -- good info by
Lindsey Biel, M.A., OTR/L and Nancy Peske from the "Raising a
Sensory Smart Child" website

A sample sensory diet for one particular child -- this is just an
example -- your particular child will probably need/respond to different
activities than listed here

Sensory Diet Considerations -- what you need to know and to
consider if you're trying to do this in your home, for your own child

Abilitations Catalog -- loads of sensory products for sale (just click
the arrows to browse the catalog).  Many of these items could be
handmade by an industrious grandma ;-)

SID therapeutic options from Sensory Nation



Related Issues:

Getting Beyond "Yuck" with Your Picky Eater an interesting
approach from CleverParents.com

Sensory Processing Disorder vs. Attention Deficit Disorder --
info from The Kid's Foundation SPD Network

Attentional Disorders

Does your child have a disorder... or is he or she "gifted"? -- an
excerpt from a book by James T. Webb, "Misdiagnosis and Dual
Diagnosis of Gifted Children"  

Learn more about being gifted
I base most of my fashion taste on what doesn't itch."  
-- Gilda Radner (1946 - 1989)