Parent and IBCLC
(Ft. Lauderdale, FL USA)
I do think it is very real. It is apparent in babies so it is hard to call it nature! I think everyone comes wired differently, and for some it means every sensory is in a heightened sense of awareness. Just like a pregnant mother has a heightened sense of smell due to neurological changes in the brain, this is biological. Just because we don't know enough about it does not make it real.
I have two children who are more highly aware of things than others. From the socks and shoes touching their feet to the way a seam lies on the shoulder. On the other hand, these are also my artistic gifted children who see the details others miss. The girl is more aware of subtle emotional changes in others, subtle unkindness, and is intuitive to the point of distraction. She is hypersensitive to sounds that are 'low' such as whispers or humming or pages turning in a book, but loud sounds don't bother her a bit. My son is strictly about socks and shoes and clothing, but is over it now at 19... or at least learned to manage it better. He still does not like to touch certain foods, or the way they look, or smell, and new food is still an issue, but he is able to try it now.
Would I medicate them? Not on your life. These are senses they can learn to manage... like an urge you can control, but it is hard.
Challenging yes, impossible, not for mine because they have very mild cases.
I am not sure I want another label added to the list of labels given to children or adults. We seem to have reached this place in mental health where there is only one idea of 'normal' and all others are somehow in need of a diagnosis. For instance, on your website you mention sleep for babies as if solo sleep is a biological norm. It is not. A baby is neurologically hardwired to sleep near mother and those who can manage without her are more likely to be the ones disordered. Check out the work of Nil Bergman before you assume solo sleep for the infant is a lofty goal. Also, some of what you call disordered is really normal and expected in a healthy active child, so where do you draw the line at normal vs. not normal.
I think I prefer the understanding that some kids process senses differently, respect it. Some kids learn differently... although I don't buy that either. Just because a child is not learning according to some set standards of normal does not mean they have learning disabilities... different is not disabled.
So, this is complicated in my mind. I believe it is real, but not so sure I like terms such as disorder, dysfunction, disabled. Who defines what is normal? If the number of 'disordered' are high, then perhaps it is not a disorder, simply a variation of the norm.