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    Effects of Sensory Processing Disorders from Birth to Adolescence

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    Neurological Milestones. The neurological milestone for this age group is that the child has the ability to do some complex tasks that they could not before because of age and brain development. During this age and stage “the two hemispheres of the brain begin to operate slightly differently, allowing for a wider range of activity” (Hutchison, 2015, p. 140). This means they should have the ability to use utensils to eat or take a bath or shower by themselves with adult supervision. A child with SPD would not have the developed fine motor skills to use utensils while eating because they have difficulty learning new things that use motor skills (Star Institute Staff, n.d.).

    Ages Seven to Eleven Years Old

    The next developmental stage is between the ages seven to eleven years of age, this stage is also referred to as the school age group. These children should be developed enough where they understand right from wrong. They also should be self-sufficient to a certain point when they are in this age group, for instance they should be able to get themselves dressed in the morning and also realize that they have to do tasks during the day with little to no reminders from adults. Although the tasks may not be completed to the quality that an adult would do, they still try to get tasks done such as dressing themselves. They may not match the right colors together, but they try so that they are more independent.

    Physical and Biological Milestones. The physical and biological milestones during this stage are that they should be that they continue to grow at this stage but have an understanding that everyone does not grow the same as everyone else during this stage. “Children of the same chronological age may vary greatly in stature, weight, and sexual development. For most children, height and weight begin to advance less rapidly then during prior developmental phases, but steady growth continues” (Hutchison, 2015, p. 183). This is when children will start to notice that they are developing differently than other people because they can see the different physical changes that other children are going through.

    Emotional Milestones. The emotional milestone associated with this age group being able to take a situation and understanding what is going on and how to react to that situation. For instance, a child at this age should be able to see someone in the hospital and understand that something is not right with that person. Having an understanding of what is going on around them and how to react is the difference in this stage then before where a child would see someone cry and feel sad. Now they can look at the environment around someone and feel bad for them without seeing emotional ques. A child with SPD will have problems understanding what is going around them because they do not pick up on other emotions or the emotions of the environment around them.

    Social Milestones. The social milestone for a child in this age is that they will learn about perspective in what they are doing or looking at. Piaget explains this when he discusses the idea that two children in the same sand box will start out young and want to build their own sand castles, but as they get older and realize perspective, they might build their own sand castles but they will each build a tunnel in the middle to connect the two structures together (Crain, 2011, p. 133). This shows that the children have the ability to look at someone else’s perspective of something. They start to understand that everyone sees things differently. Piaget also discusses the idea that children at this age will have what looks to be in depth conversations with each other, but they are really only talking about what is on their mind, not sticking to one topic during a conversation (Crain, 2011, p. 134). A child with SPD will not want to have conversations with other people, they also are hard to understand when they speak making it hard to have conversations.

    Cognitive Milestones. The cognitive milestones for this age group also known as the concreate operational stage by Piaget. His idea is that “the concrete is a major turning point in the child’s cognitive development because it marks the beginning of logical or operational thought. Children can conserve number (age 6), mass (age 7), and weight (age 9). Conservation is the understanding that something says the same in quantity even though its appearance changes” (McLeod, 2018). Children that have SPD have problems when it comes to developing intense thought processes, meaning that they can only understand simple situations because they get over whelmed with information easily.

    Moral Milestones. The moral milestones for this age group is that children start to understand the concept of what life and death really are. Piaget idea is that “only after 8 years or so do children restrict life to objects that move on their own and , later, to plants and animals” (Crain, 2011, p. 136). This means that they no longer think that if it moves it must be alive, this is important to understand because just because a flag is moving does not mean that it is alive. They can understand that just because a plant is still there that it is not alive, that it can be dead in the pot. Understanding the concept of death is something that is extremely important in life because you have to have an understanding that not everything lasts forever, and that loss is going to happen in a child’s loss at some time growing up and they need to know how to deal with it. Dealing with loss is something that everyone does differently, and this is an important learning experience for anyone. Children with SPD do not understand loss because of the lack of being able to process emotions that other children would feel.

    Neurological Milestones. The neurological milestone a child should achieve at this age range is that they should be able to concentrate on what is being taught to them in class even if distractions are present. They should be able to sit in the same spot for extended amounts of time without having to get up and move about the space they are in. A child that has SPD will have problems in a classroom if there are distractions because they are going to automatically be drawn into what is going on and distracting them. They also have a problem with staying in the same place for long periods of time. SPD also makes it hard for them to switch from task to task, they get stuck doing something (Star Institute Staff, n.d.).

    Ages Twelve through Adolescence

    The final range of ages this paper will discuss is 12 years old all the way through adolescence. This is a very important age for anyone to go through because this is when a child starts to branch out and become their own person, in regard to personality, sexuality, and relationships in general. They start to figure out where they are positioned in society by experimenting with different people, social groups, and sometimes even illicit drugs.

    Biological Milestones. The biological milestones that happen in this age group is that they start to experience hormonal changes while they go through puberty, during this stage puberty will end as well. Height and weight will still be rapid at the beginning of this stage but will begin to slow the older they get and closer to adulthood. Children will also begin to get sexual desires that they may or may not act on to experiment these feelings. Freud had the idea that “”sex” includes not just sexual intercourse but practically anything that produces bodily pleasure” (Crain, 2011, p. 257). This is important because the child is starting to get the feeling of what bodily pleasure is and its meaning. Pleasure can come in many different forms and is different from person to person.

    Emotional Milestones. The emotional milestones for this age range is that children are going to go through what some could see as traumatic experiences that their body is going to go through. In some cultures, the changes the body is going through is seen differently than it is in others. For instance, girls are more prone to have support when they menstruate for the first time, while boys are likely to have less support when it come to them ejaculating in their sleep (Hutchison, 2015, p. 233). A person that has SPD no matter how old they get they still cannot tolerate being touched, which means that they will still have difficulty developing physical relationships. They do not understand the concept still at this age that sometimes people are touching you because they love you. They cannot feel this affection for people like holding hands, hugging, or even kissing.

    Social Milestones. The social milestones for this group are that children will start to distance themselves with their parents in order to spend more time with their friends because they have more in common with each other. Children are looking for people that are more like them and are willing to try new things unlike their parents who have already went through this stage and found out who they wanted to be. As they get older and begin to have romantic feelings for other people, they will begin to develop relationships with people they are attracted to. This also is the stage where they figure out what sexual orientation, they identify themselves with. Children with SPD in this stage will still be considered “loners” because they do not understand what it takes to be in a social setting with people that have developed naturally. With this being said they would not appreciate being in the presence of other people that are suffering from sensory problem either.

    Cognitive Milestones. The cognitive milestones for this age group are improved reasoning, abstract thinking and meta-cognition (Hutchison, 2015, p. 234). “These abilities are components of Jean Piaget’s fourth stage of cognitive development called formal operational thought. Formal operational thought suggests the capacity to apply hypothetical reasoning to various situations and the ability to use symbols to solve problems” (Hutchison, 2015, p. 234). Children and adolescence that have SPD will have problems with this process because they have problems with thought forming and coming up with ideas when presented with information. They also have problems understanding what is asked of them and usually need more clarification then someone of the same age (Star Institute Staff, n.d.).

    Moral Milestones. The moral milestones for this group of children is to find out who exactly they a line themselves with and what their core beliefs are in society. One view is that “the adolescent’s primary task, Erikson believed, is establishing a new sense of ego identity-a feeling for who one is and one’s place in the higher social order. The crisis is one of identity versus role confusion” (Crain, 2011, p. 291). Self-identity is something that is extremely import because this is going to shape you into the adult that you will be.

    Neurological Milestones. The neurological milestone for this age group is that a process known as pruning happens in the brain during adolescence which “allows the brain to be more efficient to change in response to environmental demands and also facilitates improved integration of brain activities” (Hutchison, 2015, p. 229). This theory allows people to immerse themselves in an environment and adapt to it in order to be successful or what they feel is successful. This is why people can grow up poor but still get their education as a way for them to not think about the fact of being poor in school, and also to try and set them up for a life after school that they will not be poor. Education is extremely important for people like this because this gives them a tool to try and break that cycle.

    A child that has Sensory Processing Disorder may not have biological symptoms, but they do have a lot of other symptoms that can be diagnosed. The problem that comes with having a person diagnosed with SPD is that it is such a new medical diagnosis that people are not as keen to diagnosis it as SPD, and instead they diagnose the condition as autism because of the overlapping symptoms. If more studies where done to have some evidence-based treatments for this disorder it would help the community that is suffering with this tremendously. The lack of information about this subject is what makes it so hard to understand what a person would be dealing with when they have SPD or even help them with the effects of the disorder. As more and more people are be diagnosed hopefully will bring more awareness to this disorder and help develop cooping strategies for people suffering with SPD. The earlier you get diagnosed with SPD the more of a chance you have to learn skills and apply them to life as you get older.

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    Effects of Sensory Processing Disorders from Birth to Adolescence. (2022, Apr 27). Retrieved from

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