Sensory Integration Disorder (SID) is a relatively newly defined complex disorder of the brain. Although not included in the DSMIV-TR and lacking specific symptoms and criteria for diagnosis, it is recognized by many professionals.
Children with SID either are excessively overreactive to stimulation and shrink away from it, as is the case in Asperger’s Disorder, or are quite the opposite, with a limited responsiveness and a consequent seeking of stimulation, as may also be seen in children with ADHD. Which type of stimulation is upsetting and which is favored by these children varies from child to child. Their abnormal response to stimulation can lead to problems in daily life due to their emotional and behavioral intensity. Many children with Asperger’s Disorder have intense reactions to stimulation. They may be:
• Overly sensitive to light
• Stiff and avoidant of touch
• Distressed by motion
• Upset by noise
• Irritated by tags, elastic, seams, and textures in clothes
• Picky with textures in food
Extreme reactions that seem to come out of nowhere are commonly seen in children with Asperger’s Disorder. Usually these seemingly unprovoked reactions can be traced to some irritating stimulation that the child is unable to tell you about. Children with SID are treated by occupational therapists to help them overcome and cope with their extreme sensitivities.