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Lucy Jane Miller, Ph.D., OTR
Lucy Jane Miller, PhD, OTR

Ask Dr. Lucy

By Lucy Jane Miller, PhD, OTR
Founder and Executive Director

Q. Can Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) subtypes represent a spectrum of difficulties?

Submitted by a participant at the Cambridge Workshop, March 2011

A. SPD does definitely occur along a spectrum from mild to severe. Those in the mild category are probably functioning within the so called "normal" population. They might cut out their tags or wear their nightgowns inside out. (You can sometimes tell theses folks because there is a slit where their tag used to be - at least that's true on my clothes!). The sensory issue is only labeled a "disorder" when it interferes with daily routines and activities at home, at school, or in the community.

This is a figure from Chapter 7 of my new book co-authored with Doreit Bialer and published by Future Horizons. It is a graphic that suggests what our data have shown e.g., that Sensory Over-Responsivity, Sensory Under-Responsivity and Sensory Craving (also called sensory seeking by some) are on three separate dimensions, each of which goes from normal (which in itself is on a spectrum) to severely atypical. Our factor analyses suggest that none of the three modulation subtypes SOR, SUR nor SC are on the same dimension.


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