Why children develop SPDs is not clearly understood. The brain functions in these children may be different, and there may be a hereditary component to SPDs. Prenatal environment, including an exposure to alcohol stress hormones, may also increase the risk of SPDs.
Certainly early infanthood experiences may be related to SPDs. Babies who have difficulty with sleep and feeding patterns and are unable to calm themselves are more like to have sensory processing problems as toddlers .
Children living in an underprivileged environment, such as orphanages, are also at an increased risk of SPDs. Parents of Romanian orphans reported that 18 % of their children were hypersensitive to stimuli and another 11 % inappropriately under-responded to stimuli. Studies found that children who spent the first 12 months to 24 years in an orphanage had more problem behaviors and were the most likely to have sensory processing problems. Even when the children’s physical needs are met in an orphanage, including good medical care and proper nutrition, the lack of consistent care and stimulation can lead to sensorimotordelays.
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