Sensory Processing Disorder & the Holidays

The holidays can be busy. Those with sensory processing disorder may find the season to be overwhelming and difficult to handle.

#BetterTogether is brought to you by the Tuscarawas County Board of Developmental Disabilities.

Sensory processing disorder is when the brain has trouble taking in information through the senses- such as sound, touch, and sight. Those who have sensory processing disorder can be hypersensitive or hyposensitive to sensory stimulation ( While sensory processing difficulties can be a sign of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), all those with sensory processing disorder do not have ASD.

A person with hypersensitivity might not tolerate bright lights or loud sirens well. They may refuse to wear tight clothing. A surprise touch or hug might cause extreme discomfort. They may have trouble keeping track of where their body is in regard to others or objects.

People with hyposensitivity may seek more stimulation. The need to touch people or textures. They might have little awareness of personal space and a high tolerance for pain. Additionally, they might enjoy jumping activities, deep hugs, and fidgeting.

Sensory Processing Disorder & the Holidays

There are many ways to support people with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD).

  • Noise-canceling headphones are useful in large crowds or loud places
  • Fidget toys are a useful tool
  • Wearing a weighted vest or using a weighted blanket can help with hyposensitivity
  • Seeking a clutter-free, quiet place is helpful for those with hypersensitivity
  • Communicating with loved ones about your triggers and needs will help alleviate stress and stressors.

The Tuscarawas County Board of Developmental Disabilities (TuscBDD) has resources for children and adults with developmental disabilities. TuscBDD provides Early Intervention for children birth to three years old, Service and Support Administration for people of all ages, family support services, family mentorship, and more! To learn more about these services and others, visit TuscBDD online at or call (330) 308-7173.

Audrey Mattevi

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