How occupational therapists help support those with sensory processing disorders

From children to adults, occupational therapists help support a range of people with varying conditions to lead more independent and enjoyable lives. But what does this look like? And could occupational therapy be the next step in your career?

Today we discuss how occupational therapists help those with sensory processing disorders to better respond to their surroundings and social situations.

What is a sensory processing disorder? 

Everyday, usually subconsciously, we are taking in the world around us and piecing it together through a series of sights, smells, sounds, tastes and textures. This is known as sensory processing and helps our bodies and minds understand where we are and how to respond to the situation at hand. Those with sensory processing disorder experience these senses differently; whether being overly sensitive to sound, finding certain food textures difficult to tolerate or having a lack of spatial awareness.

What are the common symptoms of sensory processing disorder in children?

Here are a few signs a child is over-responsive to senses:

  • Overactive to loud or harsh sounds

  • Avoidant of physical touch such as hugs

  • Anxious in big groups of people

  • Fearful of heights/climbing/falling

  • Easily distracted by background noise

  • Poor balance/may appear clumsy


Some children, on the other hand, can be under-responsive to senses, and might exhibit the following behaviours:

  • Doesn’t understand personal space

  • Very fidgety

  • Hyperactive in their movements e.g. jumping around, spinning a lot

  • High pain tolerance

Where do occupational therapists come in? 

Occupational Therapists can aid in the treatment of individuals with sensory processing disorder by helping them understand how to respond to sensations, in turn, improving their social skills. The desired outcome is to improve the day-to-day and overall quality of life for these clients.


What is the treatment? 

A treatment plan will be put together by the occupational therapist following a rigorous evaluation of the client. The plan will target any ‘pain points’ e.g. if the individual has trouble with coordination and balance then the occupational therapist would begin by addressing this area during treatment. It is important that sensory processing disorders are diagnosed early on as it increases chances of successful intervention.

Here at Amaré Health we celebrate all the fantastic work occupational therapists do to help clients improve their day-to-day lives.

Does occupational therapy sound like it could be for you? Get in contact with one of our team today on 0203 929 4017 for a free consultation and we’ll help land you your next role.

Alternatively, you can view our current vacancies in occupational therapy here.