What is the SPM-2 (Sensory Processing Measure 2nd Edition)?

Aug 03, 2023

Sensory processing is our body and brain’s ability to interpret various sensory information from our environment. As we all learned in grade school, there are five well-known senses: hearing, sight, touch, taste, and smell. 

However, these aren’t the only senses our body interprets! We also experience proprioceptive input, which determines our “body awareness”. It is the combination of pressure, static and dynamic changes in our limbs (and all body parts) that determine how we know where we are in space. We also have a vestibular system, which allows us to interpret movement and informs our body how to balance in a variety of positions (sitting, standing, walking, etc.).

We can either be adequately responsive, under-responsive, or over-responsive to different areas of our sensory experience. If your child has difficulty with navigating their environment, controlling emotions, or engaging in functional tasks, there may be a sensory component that is underlying this difficulty. 

Our clinic uses the SPM-2 (Sensory Processing Measure 2nd Edition) to identify some of the areas that your child may be experiencing difficulty with when interpreting sensory input. The assessment is a survey completed by you or another caregiver. The assessment asks a variety of questions that will be answered as never (or almost never), occasionally, frequently, and always (or almost always). After the assessment is complete, the report will provide interpretive ranges: typical, moderate difficulties, & severe difficulties. However, a score indicating difficulties may not be impacting your child’s function (i.e. you may already have strategies in place that allow for functional interaction with the environment), interview and discussion with the evaluating occupational therapist will bring more clarity with this. 

In addition to vision, hearing, taste & smell, body awareness, and balance & motion, the SPM-2 has categories to identify areas of need with motor planning and social interaction skills. These are not a “sense”, however they can be significantly impacted by our ability to interpret the other sensory areas, which is why they are included in the assessment. 

Your occupational therapist will explain how the assessment results may be noticed in your child’s life and begin the process of identifying strategies to support functional interaction with sensory experiences. Please reach out to your OT if you have any questions!

Written by Abigail Pichardo, MOT License #OT21520


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