Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) is common among those on the spectrum. While Autism and SPD to go hand and hand, you can have SPD and not be Autistic. Sensory Processing Disorder in short is a neurological disorder that causes someone to process their senses differently. This causes a person to respond and receive input from their senses more intense or less than the average person. For some, this may mean they are extra sensitive to the stimuli around them. While other's are sensory seeking and crave sensory input. Being able to process all your senses in a level manner is such a gift that people take for granted. Feeling things differently can bring on anxiety and stress for a person with SPD. Imagine if everything was too loud, too soft, too wet, too bright, it's all too much. And a person is not just subjected to these feelings every so often, this is every day. SPD effects all of your senses- constantly. These intense interactions involve an in-difference to pain, texture, sound, temperature, smell, and visual stimuli. Things deemed a simple task, such as brushing your hair or washing your face become difficult even painful. These sensory issues can also limit someone's variety of food intake due to texture and smell. For Olive personally, she has geographic tongue as well as sensory issues. So, things like mint are extra 'spicy'. And citric things cause white patches on her tongue to flair up. On top of mainly preferring only crunchy food, she insists on not trying anything new. This is common.
Things the average person may not think twice about may catch a person with SPD off guard. Crowds may make a person feel uneasy and over whelmed. While you may only hear the chatter in the coffee shop. A person with sensory sensitivities hear the buzzing lights, the grinding coffee, the constant dinging of the door as people walk in and out. It can cause someone to become over aroused and panic. Being over stimulated can send a person into a meltdown or a panic attack. This is where stimming can come in, this is used to self regulate their senses. Stimming short for self stimulating behavior, and is extremely useful for a person. Stimming can help provide a person with the sensory input they desire and need to regain their sense of calm. Taking a closer look at SPD will help you get a better understanding of a person, and a more clear view of the reason behind a person's behavior.