Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) is a neurological disorder resulting from the brain’s inability to integrate everyday sensory information received from the five senses: touch, vision, sound, smell, and taste. There are two additional senses that are rarely heard of: the vestibular and the proprioceptive systems.
The vestibular system has functions located in the base of the brain (cerebellum), the upper part of the neck (cervical spine) and the inner ear. It is the “chief regulator” of all incoming sensory information and is considered the most important sensory system.
The proprioceptive system is located throughout the spine as well as in all other joints of the body. Dysfunction within the sensory integration system can lead to problems with learning, motor skills, behavior and emotional development.
It is estimated that as many as 1 in 20 children may suffer from SPD. These children are often misunderstood and labeled as aggressive, clumsy, inattentive, or “difficult”. They may also be diagnosed as having learning disorders, ADD/ADHD, or other diagnosis under the umbrella of Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Properly functioning vestibular and proprioceptive sensory systems are two key components in developing a healthy sensory processing system. Because these two sensory systems have a vast amount of function located in the spinal column, it is essential that children and adults with signs of SPD be evaluated by a chiropractor for misalignments of the spine (vertebral subluxation) that may be causing interference within the brain and sensory systems.
Chiropractors who have a designated CACCP or DACCP have additional postgraduate training in caring for children and pregnant women.