How OTs can help clients with Sensory Processing Disorder 

Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) affects how the brain processes sensory information. People with SPD have difficulties taking in, interpreting and responding to information from the environment. Things that may appear to be simple for neurotypical individuals, such as dealing with fluorescent lights at the grocery store or focussing on a conversation in a loud environment, may be overwhelming or intolerable for people with SPD. 

In most cases, people with SPD have one or more senses that experience either too much or too little stimulation.  
That’s because SPD disrupts how the brain receives, organizes, and uses the messages received through our body’s receptors. We take in sensory information through our eyes, ears, muscles, joints, skin, and inner ears, and we use those sensations – we integrate them, modulate them, analyze them and interpret them — for immediate and appropriate everyday functioning. 

As Occupational Therapist and Developmental Psychologist A. Jean Ayres says: “SPD is like a neurological traffic jam in which the senses don’t work properly.” 

Adults and SPD 

Although more common in children, adults can also have SPD.  

Adults with SPD may have difficulties at work, at home, in relationships, and their everyday life. Things like giving presentations at work or being in a crowded elevator with other people might be extremely difficult to deal with. 

SPD goes undiagnosed or is misdiagnosed in many adults. It’s common that SPD individuals will have other diagnoses as well, such as depression, anxiety, and eating disorders, among others. 

An Occupational Therapist (OT) can help 

Occupational Therapists cannot provide a diagnosis to clients with SPD.  
However, our OTs can provide adults with SPD with a Sensory Diet, which are exercises, tools, and techniques to help regulate their sensory response so they can react in an adaptive way to everyday stimulation.  
Occupational Therapists at OT Works! have experience working with individuals with SPD and can help you live a fulfilling life, doing the activities that you love and that are important to you. 

If you or someone you know is looking for support with SPD, contact us today.  


Phone:  604.696.1066 ext. 1000.   

Learn more about SPD: 

SPD and Autism Specialist Moira Pena’s website 

The Neurotypical Guide to Adults with SPD 

Additude Mag’s SPD in Adults 

Tips to Manage Sensory Overload in Adults