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What is Sensory Processing Disorder?

Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), previously referred to as “sensory integration dysfunction,” is a condition in which a person has difficulty processing and acting upon the information they receive through their senses. This creates difficulty with many everyday tasks. Many people with Autism Spectrum Disorder also have Sensory Processing Disorder, and symptoms of these disorders can overlap. Occupational therapists often recommend a sensory diet to treat both.


Symptoms may include:

  • Having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep and wandering the house at night
  • Throwing tantrums or zoning out in noisy public places
  • Have trouble sitting still, focusing, or transitioning from one task to another
  • Exhibiting fearful or aggressive behaviors in certain situations
  • Craves tight hugs, banging into things, having people sit on him or pile things on top of him
  • Covering their ears or being bothered by sounds that don’t bother others
  • Constantly putting objects in the mouth past the toddler years
  • May lick, taste, or chew on inedible objects
  • Avoids certain textures, may hate wearing clothes


What is a Sensory Diet?

A sensory diet is a highly personalized activity plan involving various forms of sensory input to help individuals stay focused and self-regulated throughout the day.

There are seven main types of sensory input used in a sensory diet, each pertaining to a different sense:

  1. Proprioceptive – Joint and muscle work that tells the body about its position in space.
  2. Vestibular – General sense of movement centered in the inner ear. Be careful not to overstimulate.
  3. Tactile – Sense of touch that includes deep pressure, temperature, pain, vibrations, and textures.
  4. Auditory – Refers to how we hear and listen. Is closely related to the vestibular sense.
  5. Visual – Affects the eyes, our vision, and how we react to light and color.
  6. Olfactory – The sense of smell. Is tied to the limbic system, the emotional hub of the brain.
  7. Taste – Taste is perceived by the tongue and is influenced by our sense of smell.

Depending on the needs of the individual, sensory activities are either calming or energizing. If an individual is highly energized, then they need calming input like rocking in a rocking chair or carrying books. On the other hand, if someone is sluggish and low energy, they need more stimulating input such as jumping up and down or listening to loud music.


Weighted Blankets as Part of a Sensory Diet

A weighted blanket can literally be a lifesaving device for entire families where someone is not sleeping or suffering from some form of sensory processing disorder. Weighted blankets are best used for improving sleep and can also be used on the couch or in the car as a calming tool and for helping focus.


SensaCalm and the Sensory Diet

SensaCalm offers a variety of products commonly used in a sensory diet. From weighted blankets, Epsom salt soaps, scented lotions and more, we strive to meet all of our customers’ sensory needs.

All of the products offered on our website have been hand-picked by our staff of mothers, fathers, and caregivers, ensuring only the very best selection. We understand what it’s like loving someone with sensory needs, and we want to help make life easier for them and their whole family.

Weighted Blankets – All of our weighted blankets, wraps, and lap pads provide the user with soothing, deep pressure and compressions, allowing the user to relax and calm themselves.

Weighted Gear – Much like weighted blankets, these specialty vests and belts can help the user stay calm and focused. Weighted vests and belts are suitable for shorter periods of time such as school. 

Epsom Salt Soaps – Epsom salts are known to ease stress and relax the body, making them perfect for a nightly bath before bed. We currently offer five varieties of handmade Epsom salt soaps, each with a relaxing scent. A bath with Epsom salt soap is the perfect nighttime ritual for kids with SPD or ASD.

Scented Lotions and Sprays – Many scents have been proven to help calm the body and improve mood and sleep. SensaCalm provides lotions and room sprays in calming lavender or energizing citrus scents, ensuring there is something for everyone.

Chewies – Safer than chewing gum, and minus sugar or strong flavor, chewies allow young children and aggressive biters a safe way to develop oral sensory skills.