Ana Pimlott can’t sit still, tolerate socks or even stand the smell of a hot pizza. But without official recognition for her condition, treatment is expensive and hard to come by.

Now parents and researchers are working to change that.

Pimlott’s condition called sensory processing disorder prevents her brain from appropriately processing information gathered from her senses. It is believed to impact thousands of children, but the diagnosis is not officially classified in psychiatry’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM, meaning that there is little research and few treatments. More importantly for many families, the lack of an official status means it’s usually not covered by insurance.

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Now at the urging of families, researchers and therapists, the diagnosis is under consideration for inclusion in the next edition of the DSM, expected in May 2013.

Recognition would lead to a better understanding of the disorder and, in turn better treatments, advocates say. But they acknowledge the road to DSM acceptance could be a rough one since the diagnosis affects each person uniquely.

Sensory processing disorder describes a group of people with varying degrees of need, some of whom can’t even take a bath while others simply have difficulty with day-to-day social interactions like tolerating a crowded space. What’s more, symptoms overlap with a slew of other disorders like autism, Tourette’s syndrome, obsessive-compulsive disorder and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.

More and more, however, experts say they’re seeing people with sensory processing disorder as a unique group who don’t fit the characteristics of other, more recognized diagnoses, reports The Boston Globe. To read more click here.

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