Sensory Processing Disorder

Although there are no research studies addressing this particular issue in children with Duchenne, some parents report that their children have features of sensory processing disorder. They report children who are hypersensitive to tactile stimulation; for example, children who complain about seams or wrinkles in their socks, socks that are not on straight, or tags in their shirts. Other parents report that their sons are aversive to “messy” play or may be “picky eaters” regarding certain tastes, consistencies, and textures. Others report that their child has difficulty tolerating noisy environments.


A “sensory diet” is a set of activities or environmental modifications that an occupational therapist develops to increase or reduce specific sensory stimuli, with the belief that this will result in improved sensory processing. The activities are tailored to the unique needs of the individual child.


People who have heightened sensitivity (hypersensitivity) may be exposed to activities that the therapist believes to be calming such as listening to relaxing music, gently rocking in a quiet dimly lit room, or removing auditory or visual distractions.


People with reduced sensitivity (hyposensitivity) may be exposed to strong sensations such as hugging, brushing, rubbing, and swinging, or activities focused on tactile stimulation such as sandboxes or finger painting. In addition, the child may be rewarded for their ability to tolerate activities they would normally avoid.

Information in this section was contributed, in part, by James Poysky, PhD. Read Dr. Poysky’s entire document, Learning and Behavior in Duchenne (download).