Understanding Sensory Processing

Course Introduction

Sensory Processing is at its core, information processing. We use our senses to make informed decisions about our surroundings and how we should react to them. If one of our senses overreacts, or underreacts, it will greatly affect how we behave in our environments.

Sensory Processing is one of our MOST fundamental aspects. So, we need to look after it well, and understand what it is, and what to do if one (or more) of our senses are not entirely functioning in a “normal” way.

This course is mainly aimed at teachers and parents, as topics include what the symptoms are at home and in the classroom when a sense is over- or under reactive, and what to do in these situations. This course does have international accreditation and you will receive 50CPD points for completing it, therefor it is open for all professions as well.  

Come and learn how Sensory Processing affects various aspects of ourselves, from balance to eating to potty training to interest in our environment (AD(H)D and ADD). Also learn about the similarities between Sensory Processing and Autism, and Sensory Processing and AD(H)D. 

History of SPD


In this module you will learn a brief history of Sensory Processing Disorder. Find out who diagnosed it first, what is was described as, and how to this day, we still use the same therapies.

1. History of SPD

1.1 Sensory Integration

1.2 Hidden Disabilities

1.3 Mental Traffic Jam

1.4 Sensory Integration and Learning Disorders, 1972

1.5 Sensory Integration and the Child, 1979

1.6 Name Change

1.7 The Out of Sync Child

SPD and the Medical Profession
What is Sensory Processing?
Common SPD Symptoms


This module explains the symptoms associated with Sensory Processing Disorder. 

4. Common SPD Symptoms

4.1 SPD symptoms in adults

4.2 Common Symptoms of SPD in small children

4.2.1 Common symptoms in sensory avoidant children

4.2.2 Common Symptoms in Sensory Seeking Children

4.3 SPD from Birth?

4.4 Toddlerhood

4.5 Early Signs

4.6 Piecing Things Together

Co-Morbidities and why it is frequently misdiagnosed


This module explains how Sensory Processing Disorder may be misdiagnosed for Autism Spectrum Disorder or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. 

5. Co-Morbidities and why it is frequently misdiagnosed

5.1 SPD vs Autism Spectrum Disorder

5.2 SPD vs Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

5.3 What can put a child at higher risk of developing SPD?

SPD and reflexes


This module explains how Sensory Processing Disorder may be influenced by our primitive responses, as well as our primitive reflexes. 

6. SPD and reflexes

6.1 Sensory Processing and Fight, Flight or Freeze

6.2 Primitive Reflexes and Sensory Processing

6.2.1 The Rooting Reflex

6.2.2 The Moro Reflex

6.2.3 The Palmar Reflex

6.2.4 The Asymmetrical Tonic Neck Reflex

6.2.5 The Symmetrical tonic neck reflex

6.2.6 The Tonic Labyrinthine Reflex

Our Eight Senses


This module goes into detail of our 5 most well-known senses, what symptoms could be in the classroom something is awry, as well as accommodations that could be made for students.

7 Our Eight Senses

7.1 Tactile/touch

7.1.1 Symptoms of tactile sensitivity (hyper, hypo, and under-responses)

7.1.2 What you can do at home for someone who has a tactile processing difficulty

7.1.3 What does it look like in the classroom?

7.1.4 Tactile accommodations for student

7.2 Vision/sight

7.2.1 Symptoms of visual sensitivity (hyper, hypo, and under-responses) 

7.2.2 What you can do at home for someone with visual processing difficulty

7.2.3 What does it look like in the classroom?

7.2.4 Visual accommodations for students

7.3 Auditory/Hearing

7.3.1 Symptoms of auditory sensitivity (hyper, hypo and under-responses)

7.3.2. What you can do at home for someone who has auditory difficulty

7.3.3 What does it look like in a classroom?

7.3.4 Auditory accommodations for students

7.4 Gustatory/Taste

7.4.1 Symptoms of gustatory sensitivity (hypo, hyper and under-response) 

7.4.2 What you can do at home for someone with gustatory difficulty

7.4.3 What does it look like in the classroom?

7.4.4 Gustatory accommodations for students

7.5 Olfactory/Smell

7.5.1 Symptoms of olfactory sensitivity (hypo, hyper and under-response) 

7.5.2 What you can do at home for someone with olfactory difficulty

7.5.3 What does it look like in the classroom?

7.5.4 Olfactory accommodations for students

7.5.5 A Note on Essential Oils

Proprioception, Vestibular, Interoception


Find out more about the three senses that are less well-known and how incredibly important they are to our most basic functions. 

8.1 Proprioception

8.1.1 Symptoms of proprioceptive sensitivity (hypo, hyper and under-response)

8.1.2 What you can do at home for someone with proprioceptive difficulty

8.1.3 What does it look like in a classroom?

8.1.4 Proprioception accommodations for student

8.2 Vestibular

8.2.1 Symptoms of vestibular sensitivity (hypo, hyper and under-response)

8.2.2 What you can do at home for someone with vestibular difficulty

8.2.3 What does it look like in the classroom?

8.2.4 Vestibular accommodations for students

8.3 Interoception

8.3.1 Symptoms of interoception sensitivity (hypo, hyper and under-responses) 

8.3.2 What you can do at home for someone with interoception difficulty

8.3.3 What does it look like in the classroom?

8.3.4 Interoception accommodations for students

SPD and Behaviour


Since behaviour is the first consequence of Sensory Processing Disorder that we see, it is important to know the difference between neurotypical behaviour, and behaviour that stems from Sensory Processing Disorder. 

9 SPD and Behaviour

9.1 Behaviour as Communication

9.2 SPD Can Look Like Bad Behaviour

9.3 Types of behaviour

9.3.1 Social Attention

9.3.2 Tangibles or Activities

9.3.3 Escape or Avoidance

9.3.4 Sensory Stimulation

9.4 Development and Behaviour

9.5 Brain Development and Sensory Processing

9.6 Behaviour and Sensory Processing



Meltdowns are part of Sensory Processing Disorder so it is important to know and understand why they happen, and what could be done to help someone who has them. 

10. Meltdowns

10.1 Anxiety

10.1.1 Anxiety and Meltdowns

10.2 What does a sensory meltdown look like?

10.3 What Triggers a Meltdown?

10.4 Characteristics of a Meltdown

10.4.1 Absence of Self-Control and Self-Awareness

10.5 The Frightening Intensity of Meltdowns

10.6 How to respond to a sensory meltdown

10.7 Meltdown Calming Strategies

10.8 Meltdown Prevention

10.9 Impact of Meltdowns on the Rest of the Family

Parents and SPD


Sensory Processing Disorder affects parents in different ways, and in different levels. Understand the problems that children and parents face when a child develops food issues when they have Sensory Processing Disorder. 

11. Parents and SPD

11.1 Parenting differently

11.2 Get to know your child

11.3 Social Stigma

11.4 SPD and Food

11.4.1 Food Issues – Sensory Avoiders

11.4.2 Food Issues – Sensory Seekers

11.4.3 SPD Food Issues are Complex

11.4.4 How SPD Food Issues Make Parents Feel

11.4.5 Seeking Medical Help

Occupational Therapy


Occupational Therapy play an integral role in the identification as well as the treatment of Sensory Processing Disorder. Learn how people in this profession can help a child with this diagnosis. 

12. Occupational Therapy

12.1 What is Occupational Therapy?

12.2 How Does an Occupational Therapist Work?

12.3 Enabling and Abilities

12.4 Patricia Wilbarger

12.4.1 The Wilbarger Protocol

12.5 What is a sensory diet?

12.5.1 Working Together with Families

12.5.2 Examples of Sensory Diet Activities

12.6 What is Sensory Integration Therapy?

12.7 Holistic Approach

12.8 OT Role in Specialist Equipment Recommendations

12.9 Choosing an Occupational Therapist

Common Issues


There are common issues regarding Sensory Processing Disorder that can make life a bit harder. Learn what they are and how to help someone that finds these situations stressful.

13. Common Issues

13.1 Toilet training

13.2 Clothing

13.3 Eating

13.4 Grooming

13.4.1 Suggestions for Hair Brushing

13.4.2 Suggestions for Bathing

13.4.3 Suggestions for Tooth Brushing

13.5 Public Bathrooms

13.5.1 Avoid Them When Possible

13.5.2 Covering the Automatic Flush Sensor

13.5.3 Familiarity Helps

13.5.4 Give Them Advanced Warning

13.5.5 Come Prepared

13.5.6 Acknowledge the Challenges and Give Praise

13.6 Sleep solutions

13.6.1 Auditory

13.6.2 Proprioception

13.6.3 Visual

SPD and the home


Sensory Processing Disorder can affect home-life, and the home may in turn affect someone with Sensory Processing Disorder. Learn how to make home a more peaceful place for someone with a diagnosis of Sensory Processing Disorder.  

14. SPD and the home

14.1 How to “sensory proof” your home

14.1.1 Bathroom

14.1.2 Bedroom

14.1.3 Other Areas of the Home

14.1.4 Setting up a sensory room or dedicated sensory space

14.1.5 Sensory Stations

14.2. Visual supports

14.2.1 Visual Schedules

14.2.2 Activity and Task Cards

14.2.3 Now/Next/Later Schedules

Sensory tools for the home


There are many tools at the disposal of parents or caretakers that help someone with the diagnosis of Sensory Processing at home.  Learn about all these methods, as well as practical information on what to do. 

15. Sensory tools for the home

15.1 Weighted Blankets

15.2 Weighted Vests, Shoulder Wraps, Lap Pads, Stuffed Animals

15.3 Pressure Vests

15.4 Fidgets

15.5 Chewelry

15.6 Noise Reducing Headphones

15.7 Sound Therapy Machine

15.8 Palm Massager

15.9 Essential Oils

15.10 Tools for Sitting

15.11 Swings

15.12 Crash Pad

15.13 Trampoline

15.14 Vibrating cushions

15.15 Sensory Activities

15.15.1 Alerting activities

15.15.2 Calming Activities

15.15.3 Heavy Work Activities

15.15.4 Crossing Midline Activities

15.16 Sensory Bins

15.17 Sensory Bags

15.18 Sensory Balls

15.19 Play Dough

15.20 Slime

15.21 Other Suggestions

15.23 In summary

How parents can help at school


Sensory Processing Disorder can be at its most visible during school hours. Learn how you can help your child with a diagnosis of Sensory Processing Disorder, as well as how you as a teacher can help the child in your class with this diagnosis. 

16.1.1 How parents can help at school

16.1.2 Advocating for your Child

16.1.3 Advocating for your child’s education

16.1.4 IEP Meetings

16.1.5 Ideas for advocacy at school

16.2 Teachers and SPD

16.2.1 Happy Children Learn Better

16.2.2 What to look for

16.2.3 Working with a Special Education Team

16.2.4 Working with an Occupational Therapist

16.2.5 Individualised Education Plan (IEP)

16.2.6 Working with parents

16.2.7 Avoiding Sensory Overload in the classroom

16.2.8 Creating a Sensory Friendly classroom

16.2.9 Auditory accommodations and supports

16.2.10 Visual accommodations and supports

16.2.11 Flexible seating

16.2.12 Accommodations for writing

16.2.13 Sensory breaks

16.2.14 Sensory Stations Sensory Station Ideas

16.2.15 Creating a sensory space in the classroom

16.2.16 Emotional Regulation

16.2.17 Regulation Station

16.2.18 Noticing, Acknowledging and Communicating About Emotions

16.2.19 Sensory Activities in the classroom Heavy work activities Alerting activities Calming activities Organizing activities Crossing midline activities

16.2.20 Sensory Bins, Bags, and Bottles

16.2.21 Play dough and Slime

16.2.22 In summary

16.2.23 Looking after yourself as parent or caregiver

Multi-Sensory Teaching and Techniques


Multi-Sensory Teaching and Techniques can be the first step into implementing Sensory Integration Therapy. Learn more about it to gain a better understanding. 

17. Multi-Sensory Teaching and Techniques

17.1 Learning Style

17.2. To stimulate visual reasoning and learning

17.3 Auditory techniques

17.4 Tactile teaching methods

17.5. Kinaesthetic methods

17.6 Extra methods

17.6.1 Sand or shaving cream writing

17.6.2 Air writing

17.6.3 Sandpaper letters

17.6.4 Word building

17.6.5 Read it, build it, write it

17.6.6 Tapping out sounds

17.6.7 Story sticks

17.6.8 Shared reading

You download the test (it is an editable PDF document) at the beginning of the test. (It is easy to find as part of the first Lecture.) You may then complete the questions as you go through the course material (the test is divided into sections that are based on the lectures). Once you are done, you save the document, and email it to courses@helpmychild.co.za to be marked. Once your results have been calculated, you will receive your results as well as your certificate via email.
No. There is only an “open book” test that you must complete and send in to be marked at the end of the course.
Yes, you will! You will receive your certificate stating your CDP points when you are done.
You may send any questions you have to courses@helpmychild.co.za and we will get back to you as soon as possible. Alternatively, you may also join the Help My Child Study Group on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/groups/2058125660923135/?ref=bookmarks) , and ask your questions there.
There is no time limit, it is entirely up to you. We know life is busy and can be hectic, our aim is to help, not to make you feel as if you have another burden.
No there aren’t. All the material for course is online and you go through it by yourself. All the material will be available for you to view, even after you have completed the course.
You will have to send in your own results once we have sent your certificate stating the amount of CPD points you received
Yes, it is. The course has international accreditation from a company in the United Kingdom, called The CPD Certification Group. (www.thecpdaccreditation.group)

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Enrolled: 189 students
Duration: 50 Hours
Lectures: 17
Level: Intermediate