Although the term “sensory integration disorders” may sound scientific and enigmatic, each of us has likely experienced some of their dysfunctions. People with SPD can suffer unknowingly throughout their lives by attributing their symptoms to character traits or lifestyle. Sensory Processing Disorder affects many everyday behaviours, which can accumulate and eventually may overwhelm us and cause increasing dysfunction.
No doubt we have at some time encountered a person who was considered an “introvert” in the company and avoided crowds and conversations with strangers. They also might be considered “clumsy”, constantly letting something out of their hands or stumbling over what was under their feet or even “fidgety”, who cannot sit still and focus on the conversation. Such seemingly ordinary character traits do not always result from individual predispositions or conditions but may be a sign of sensory disorders, i.e. a malfunction of the nervous system.
No emotional control
Sensory disorders in adults largely focus on sensory overactivity, which weakens the ability to regulate and control emotions. In this way, the emotional and social competences are lowered, related to lowering mood, withdrawing from contacts with others. Alternatively, a person might display growing irritation, aggression and impulsiveness disproportionate to the situation. Examples of behaviours or tendencies will be, for example:
– avoiding certain fabrics or styles (wool, turtleneck),
– a great reluctance to stand in a queue or stay in crowded places,
– fear of travelling by lift or plane,
– travel sickness,
– sensitivity to some sounds or background sounds, sensitivity to noise,
– problems with keeping balance, controlling movements,
– problems with the operation of machines or electronic devices (or reluctance to perform such tasks),
– low self-esteem, self-image as a clumsy person,
– lack of attention to diet and eating habits.
Research shows that the inability to correctly interpret sensory information from the environment can result in problems performing routine or everyday activities, the organization of free time or creating relationships. Such disorders also affect the professional, family and emotional areas, leading to a deterioration of mental well-being, increasing stress or anxiety.
How to regain control?
An adult, who knows his abilities and limitations, can consciously avoid situations that produce stimuli that is particularly unpleasant for him or cause disorganization in his behaviour. Both children and adults should use methods of silencing, meditation or sensory exercises, in order to regain control over emotions and eventually achieve more effective daily functioning.
The use of classic therapy and sensory therapy, including using a weighted blanket, is also effective. At first, the sensory blanket, i.e. the weighted blanket, was a tool used in childhood disorders such as ADHD, ADD, autism, Asperger’s syndrome, Down’s syndrome or anxiety disorders. Today, they are also used successfully in combating insomnia, the effects of chronic stress or fatigue, in sleep disorders, anxiety and neurotic disorders, problems with concentration or controlling emotions. Furthermore, its effectiveness is confirmed both in the case of children and adults, however, due to the construction of the duvet or a weighted blanket, each user should have a blanket adapted to their physical conditions (the weight of the duvet insert is adjusted to the weight and height of the user).