March 12, 2019

Part 2: SPD Classifications

Category 2, Sensory Discrimination Disorder (SDD)

This is part 2 in a series covering the categories of Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD).  I encourage you to read Part 1 of the series and the page on our website dedicated to SPD. before reading this blog post. If you’re caught up, let’s continue the discussion. Remember that these classifications are helpful because they are often referred to by healthcare providers, school administrators, etc. In this second blog post of a four part series, we are discussing the SPD category referred to as Sensory Discrimination Disorder (SDD). Typically an individual living with SDD will have trouble discriminating one sense from another, or where on their body this stimulation occurred.

Sensory Discrimination Disorder (SDD):

People living with SDD may be able to tell that they are sensing some kind of stimulation, but they struggle with the quality of the sensation, or telling one sense from another. Additionally they may struggle with where on their body they may be sensing something. Since they are struggling to determine the type or location of a stimulation, people with SDD may need more time to process a sensation, leading to a slower response. This can create poor self-confidence, attention-seeking behaviors, and emotional outbursts. They may not realize when they’re being touched or a more subconscious effect of this may be poor awareness of their body leading to poorly coordinate movement of their limbs. You may notice an individual living with SDD struggling to dress themselves, play sports at an age appropriate level, or accidentally bumping into objects or people. Judging how much strength it takes to accomplish a task can be challenging as well. They may accidentally breaking toys or use too little strength when struggling to manipulate toys. Writing and/or eating with utensils efficiently can be a frustrating as well.  Food may be less interesting or a point of frustration due to struggles distinguishing between bitter, sweet, salty, spicy, and sour tastes or smells. Visually, they may struggle to judge how close or far objects are. This may include letters or words, leading to reading issues. They may also struggle differentiating between similar sounding words (to, toe, tow, tune). Picking up visual or auditory social cues can be a challenge leading to further confidence issues (1, 2).

If this sounds like your child, the next step is assessing their brain to see where processing has gone off track.  Call or email today to begin with a complimentary consultation with one of our doctors specializing in brain rehabilitation.


  1. Kranowitz CS, The Out-Of-Sync Child: Recognizing and Coping with Sensory Processing Disorder. 2nd ed. New York: Penguin Group; 2005.
  2. Miller LJ, Anzalone ME, Lane SJ, Cermak SA, Osten ET. Concept evolution in sensory integration: a proposed nosology for diagnosis. Am J Occup Ther. 2007 Mar-Apr;61(2):135-40.

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