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The Structure and Function of Sensory Processing Disorders: Working to Benefit from ADD/ADHD to Autism. Charles W Chapple, DC, FICPA 360 E Irving Park RD, Roselle, IL (630) 894-8778 Selected 2006 & 2007 “Guide To America’s Top Chiropractors”

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The Structure and Function of Sensory Processing Disorders:Working to BenefitfromADD/ADHD to Autism

Charles W Chapple, DC, FICPA

360 E Irving Park RD, Roselle, IL

(630) 894-8778

Selected 2006 & 2007 “Guide To America’s Top Chiropractors”

2008 “ Five Star Excellence Award in Chiropractic”

what are sensory processing disorders
What are Sensory Processing Disorders?
  • Any condition which demonstrates the inability to process information through the Senses.
  • Interestingly the DMSR does not acknowledge this sensory component in ASD (only language, social and behavioral variations).
inter related conditions
Inter-related Conditions?


“Normal” Children

  • ADD/ADHD: 5 Million Children in USA alone
  • Autism: Every 21 minutes another Child is Diagnosed.
  • Challenged Child: 12 to 30% of Children.
body senses include
Far Senses - Allow us to respond to stimuli outside our body:






Near Senses - Or Hidden Senses – Automatically respond within our body to stimuli:

Body Position/Awareness


Body Senses Include
what are the primitive reflexes
What are the Primitive Reflexes?

Primitive reflexes are automatic survival responses to stimuli (Sensory Input) which develop during uterine life and should be fully present at birth.

Asymmetrical/ Symmetrical Tonic Neck Reflex –

Moro Reflex –

Tonic Labyrinthine Reflex –

Fear Paralysis Reflex –

Palmar Reflex –

Plantar Reflex –

Babinski Reflex –

Spinal Galant Reflex -

Suck and Rooting Reflex –

anatomy of primitive reflexes
Anatomy of Primitive Reflexes:
  • Within the brainstem
    • Oldest part of the brain (Reptilian or Pre-Cortical) => Midbrain => Cortical
      • Automatic vs Volitional
      • Stimulus elicited (e.g. A Chocolate Cookie)
      • Survival / Instinctual
      • As higher brain centers mature or the PR’s Integrate more voluntary Postural Reflexes and Cortical development occurs
what are retained primitive reflexes
What are Retained Primitive Reflexes?
  • These are primitive reflexes that remain and do not integrate, therefore postural reflexes donot develop fully resulting in a “Reflexive No Man’s Land” or “ A Reflexive Seesaw” (e.g. Car stuck in the Snow).
  • Thus the body remains under the influence of involuntary responses instead of voluntary.
  • Retained Primitive Reflexes cause:
  • Difficult voluntary movements and Balance
  • Irregular Visual Perception
  • Irregular Auditory Processing
  • Irregular Sensory Perception
observing spd s
Observing SPD’s

An Individual defined as having SPD concerns exhibits variations of sensory activity in :

Frequency Intensity Duration

Observed as either as aHypersensitivity or a Hyposensitivity

the sensitivity of the seven senses in spd
Hypersensitive- requires less stimulation

Avoids sounds

Overwhelmed by intense visual

Object to textures and gag

Avoid textures and being touched

Avoids odors

Rigid and uncoordinated

Apprehensive running, climbing and swinging

Hyposensitive- requires more stimulation

Appears to ignore sound

Appears uninterested by visual

Tastes inedible objects

Chews and presses into objects

Unaware of unpleasant odors

Limp and clumsy

Craves rocking, twirling and fidgets

The Sensitivity of the Seven Senses in SPD
more specific retention symptoms of retained reflexes
Fear Paralysis Reflex

Oppositional Defiance

“The Screaming Child”

Moro Reflex


Overactive (Ready-Fire-Aim)

Overemotional (Weeping Anger)

*Learning Difficulty

“Can’t Turn Off”

Hypersensitive to sense


Adrenal Fatigue=> Weak Immune

Palmar Reflex

Poor Manual Dexterity (Thumb)

Speech Difficulties

Manual Tasks Inhibit Talking

Difficult writing (w/Mouth Motion)

Plantar Reflex

Trouble w/Gait, Run, Toe Walk

Rooting/Suck Reflex

Difficult Chew, Speech and Dribble

Often w/ Car & Sport Injury, Dental

More Specific Retention Symptoms of Retained Reflexes:
more specifics on retained symptoms
Asymmetrical Tonic Neck Reflex:

Easily Distracted

Poor Pencil Grip, Excessive Grip

Missing Visual Reading Fields

When reading

Difficult Distance Perception

Difficult tasks involving both sides of Body

Poor Ball Skills

Learning Difficulty

Tonic Labyrinthine Reflex:

Poor Judgment of Balance, Space, Distance, Depth & Motion

Motion Sickness

“Floppy” or “Rigid” Child

Fatigue when Neck Flexed

Learning Difficulty

Spinal Gallant Reflex:

Delayed Sitting

Abnormal Gait/Posture

Poor Bladder/ Bed Wetting

“Ant’s in Pants” Child

Learning Difficulty

More Specifics on Retained Symptoms:
difficulty with senses and reflexes
Difficulty with Senses and Reflexes

Difficulty with Skills

Motor/ Muscle Tone





Difficulty with Behaviors


Self Control





spd expression

Difficulty with Senses

and Reflexes


Difficulty with Skills and Behavior

Low Self Esteem

SPD Expression

Treats causes as genetic, pre-postnatal trauma and unknown

Treatment is geared from outside the body to inside the body ( e.g. Behavioral Modification)



Treats the structure in order to improve the function as cause is a Sensory & Reflex imbalance System Overwhelmed

Treatment is geared from inside the body to outside the body (e.g. Chiropractic and Craniosacral Therapy (CST)


controlling the senses and the reflexes
Controlling the Senses and the Reflexes
  • The Central Nervous System (CNS), comprised of the brain, brain stem, the cranial nerves, the spinal cord and the nerve attachments controls the senses and the reflexes.
cns involvement
CNS Involvement
  • Hear………………………………CN 8 (Vestibular Cochlear)
  • See………………………..CN 2(Optic)..CN 3(Occulomotor),

CN 4(Trochlear)..CN 6 (Abducens)

  • Taste………………………………..CN 9(Glossopharyngeal)
  • Touch……..............................Afferent and Spinal Pathways
  • Smell…………………………………………..CN 1 (Olfactory)
  • Body Position...................CN 8, Brain stem and Spinal cord
  • Movement………………………..Brain stem and Spinal cord
cns structure and function
CNS Structure and Function
  • The Cranium and Spinal Cord are the boney structures protecting the CNS.

Improper Improper Improper

Structure Function Sensory and Reflex Processing

(Alignment and Position) (Motion and Nerve Communication)

Improve Improve Improve

Structure Function Sensory and Reflex Processing

the link
The Link
  • The CNS and its intimately related boney protective network form the profound link of communication and functional interaction between an individual’s internal and external environments.
craniosacral therapy cst
Craniosacral Therapy (CST)
  • Focuses on relieving pressure on the brain and spinal cord through manual pressure techniques used at the cranium and sacrum.
the craniosacral system
The Craniosacral System
  • Consists of membranes and cerebral spinal fluid, which protect the CNS.
  • Restrictions in this system are detected, and corrections are identified through manual monitoring of the craniosacral rhythm (CSR).
variations in csr
Variations in CSR.
  • Variations in the CSR (6-12 bpm) could indicated any number of motor, sensory, reflex or neurological impairments, as well as causes of pain.
the chiropractic approach to the cns
The Chiropractic Approach to the CNS
  • Chiropractors identify the necessity for the reduction of Subluxations, and utilize gentle spinal pressure techniques calledAdjustments in order to remove Subluxations.
what are subluxations
What are Subluxations?
  • CNS irritation characterized by:
    • Irregular boney mechanics or spinal misalignment
    • Nerves imbalances
    • Muscle irritations
    • Tissue inflammation
    • Degenerative wear

The poor structure or mechanics involved in creating Subluxationsresults in poor motor, sensory, reflex and neurological function, as well as causes of pain.

the best of both worlds
The Best of Both Worlds
  • CST and Chiropractic adjustments work to restore more appropriate motor, sensory, reflex and neurological input and therefore improve function.
  • Improve Structure Improve Function
  • Working inside to out and not outside to in.
measuring cns function
Measuring CNS Function
  • Health care practitioners are challenged to quantify variations of the CNS communication with SPD conditions.
  • Frequently conventional tests such as blood markers, MRI’s and EEG’s appear unremarkable.
noninvasive testing of the cns

Measures temperature variations along the spine as indications of imbalances in the Autonomic nervous system which result from subluxations within the CNS.


Illustrates the effectiveness of motor nerves by measuring the amount of current at the muscle, with imbalances being indication of subluxations within the CNS.

Noninvasive Testing of the CNS
  • There is no HealthCare that is guaranteed or without risk.
  • However, Chiropractic and CST are among the most safe effective in benefiting the CNS.
a mom s story
A Mom’s Story

Dear Parents,

After a frustrating year of indifferent doctors who ignored my concerns about my son, finding Dr Chapple was like a gift.

Over weeks of therapy he has improved considerably. He no longer cocks his head. Spins or presses his forehead onto me.

In Fact, we took him for a haircut, and for the first time he sat still for the whole thing….No unfinished haircut, frantic barber or parents.

It’s sad, but I had never really noticed that he didn’t run very much before. When he did…he ran on his toes with a very awkward gait. Now he races around on his little feet for the sheer joy of running that all children have.

more resources
More Resources:
some help from michelangelo
Some Help from Michelangelo…
  • “the danger that exist is not aiming to high and reaching it, but aiming to low and achieving it.”
  • We can never aim to high for our children
the structure and function of sensory processing disorders

The Structure and Function of Sensory Processing Disorders

Charles W Chapple, DC, FICPA

360 E Irving Park Rd, Roselle, IL 60172

(630) 894-8778