It almost sounds like a good thing, not being able to eat certain fruits. But for people with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), it’s something they have to deal with every day and it makes eating even the simplest foods almost like torture. According to STAR, SPD “refers to the way the nervous system receives messages from the senses and turns them into appropriate motor and behavioral responses” and “…exists when sensory signals are either not detected or don’t get organized into appropriate responses.” Having SPD can effect your ability to ride a bike, put on clothes, or eat.
When people suffer from SPD, texture can be a complicated thing. It’s not just feeling different textures on your body. It also can affect the nerves in your tongue and mouth. It makes eating a crazy activity.
In Teen Vogue, Gabriela Cantero describes her experience living with SPD, “Telling people that I have supernatural senses is always a great conversation starter but the condition itself isn’t all that super. It’s wildly overwhelming to have constant stimulants and distractions.”
This especially applies to food because eating is more than feeding yourself. Eating is socializing and appreciating the art of food. Thankfully, not every food elicits a chaotic response from my brain, so I am still able to enjoy a variety of dishes with people and food that make me happy.
One study shows that at least 1 in 20 children’s daily life is affected by SPD. Another research study suggests that 1 in every 6 children experience SPD symptoms.
So the next time you offer someone something to eat and they turn it down, don’t take it personally. It could be that they’re saving themselves from an unpleasant experience.