Sensory DataThese are conditions where the brain has problems processing the information sent from the 5 different senses - they provide the brain with data giving us the ability to perceive in our world

The 5 senses are sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch. There are other senses - there is some debate as to whether they are in fact “real” senses. These include temperature, kinaesthetic sense, pain, balance and so on.

The traditional 5 senses send data to the brain where they processed, or interpreted. When this interpretation goes wrong, or the data in not received accurately, then you have a sensory processing disorder.

In people with ADHD the involuntary reaction to sensory data reaching the brain intensifies distraction. The ADDer will automatically “go to the source” of that data.

One of the favourite tricks Occupational Therapists use when lecturing to illustrate this phenomenon is while they are busy doing something else, they will surreptiously break an ampoule containing something with a distinct odour.

The ADDers in the room will react almost immediately, they will start sniffing the air, seeking out where this unexpected smell is coming from. Of course they are no longer attending to the lecture.

There is some debate as to whether someone has Sensory Processing Disorder or whether they have ADHD.

If the person has been diagnosed with ADHD, then there will in all probability be some degree of sensory processing dysfunction. It may not be the same the other way around.

I have included Sensory Processing Disorder as a section on it’s own even though it’s not included in either of the major diagnostic manuals, the DSM V and the ICD-10.

Sensory WavesWhat is clear, is that in the majority of cases, correcting, or reducing the dysfunction enables ADHD to be managed easier.

For instance things that may appear trivial, provide a boost to the quality of life of ADDers.

Sitting on a Pilate's ball set in a tyre, wearing a weighted poncho or jacket, provides an enhanced ability to concentrate and focus.

These benefits are seen even with medication - the effects of medication are much improved.

It is for this reason that I have included Occupational Therapy and Sensory Integration into our Living ADDventure® Treatment Wheel. Neither are a substitute for any other therapy, but are a vital component of any effective ADHD treatment.

You can find an excellent article by Dr Annemarie Lombard, CEO and Founder of Sensory Intelligence here in the ADHD Treatment section

For context and an overiview of ADHD and Co-Occuring Conditions click here

Know The Jargon - ADHD Acronyms

ADDer - a person who has ADHD or ADD

ADHD - Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder

ADD - Attention Deficit Disorder

SCT - Sluggish Cognitive Tempo - a new name for ADD

ODD - Oppositional Defiance Disorder

CD - Conduct Disorder

OCD - Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Bi-polar - Bi-polar Disorder, used to be Manic-Depression 

SPD - Sensory Processing Disorder

PTSD - Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

SAD - Seasonal Affective Disorder

ACT -  Action Consequence Trigger - monitoring forms devised and supplied by Living ADDventure®