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How is Sensory Processing Disorder Diagnosed?

Diagnosis of Sensory Processing Disorder will normally follow a thorough screening performed by either an Occupational Therapist or a Physiotherapist. The screening will normally consist of an evaluation of standardised testing and structured observations of the child's response to sensory stimulation, balance, coordination, posture and eye movements.

Currently the standardised assessment tool used to diagnose Sensory Processing Disorder is the Sensory Integration and Praxis Tests. This consists of 17 tests that are used to test several aspects of sensory processing. The Sensory Integration and Praxis Tests assess the motor planning components of the vestibular, kinaesthetic, proprioceptive, tactile and visual systems.

During diagnosis it will also be important to discuss with the parents/carers the child's developmental history and any symptoms they have noticed developing.

Early diagnosis is vital as this will allow for earlier interventions to begin. Earlier diagnosis also leads to an increased chance of successful intervention, as interventions are easier to administer to younger children while their brain is still developing. Older children can still receive effective interventions but they tend to be focussed on coping / managing strategies.

In addition to standardised asse