BrainstormingHow is Sensory Processing Disorder related or unrelated to high sensitivity? In some ways they are very different, but in others, there appears to be some overlap.

First of all, Sensory Processing Disorder is a disorder, and high sensitivity isn’t.

Sensory Processing Disorder means that your brain isn’t getting the information needed to interpret your senses. This can make everyday tasks difficult. “A person with SPD may over-respond to sensation and find clothing, physical contact, light, sound, food, or other sensory input to be unbearable. Another might under-respond and show little or no reaction to stimulation, even pain or extreme hot and cold.” (source:

As Dr. Elaine Aron writes, if there is an obvious red flag in a child’s development–like not rolling over by 7 months or not walking by 18 months–this is not just high sensitivity.

But in other instances, it is not so clear cut.

The overlap could occur where less-obvious Sensory Processing Disorder symptoms could be interpreted as regular sensitivity–when a person is deemed too sensitive to things. Do they have Sensory Processing Disorder or are they just highly sensitive?

For more information, read Dr. Elaine Aron’s explanation of the difference between HSP and SPD. (It’s much better than mine.)

And visit the Sensory Processing Disorder Foundation.

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