How to Recognize the Signs of ‘Sensory Processing Disorder’
sensors pprocessing dis order (or SPD) is a neurological condition in which someone cannot interpret external or internal stimuli the way a “neurotypical” person would. You know your five senses: sight, hearing, touch, taste and smell. A person with SPD may not like bright lights, loud sirens, or pungent smells. However, there is also the perception of oneself in space (proprioception) and movement (vestibular). People with SPD can be hypersensitive and shy away from it overwrought, or hyposensitive and can be described as “sensory seekers”.
“Each sensory system is a cup,” he says Samantha Davis, Occupational Therapist at Children’s Play Therapy Center. “IActually, our systems are a nice medium-big cup”, but For children who are hypersensitive, their cups are small. Stimuli, such as loud noises, “will break their cup and can lead to emotional outbursts, behaviors, or in some children, a complete shutdown.” However, a sensory one isSeeker has a large cup—“but since their cup is so big, it takes a lot of input to fill it up.” They love spicy food or keep spinning on the tire swing.
How do you find out if your child has SPD?
When my own Daughter was 2 years oldI realized it was her unlike other toddlers we hung out with. She avoided being touched by other children and liked to jump off scary high jungle gyms. So did she big tantrums and was have difficulty eating solid food. I knew kids who were Autistic people often had sensory sensitivities, but she showed no other signs of autism. I found a checklist out Sensory intelligent parents, and it met criteria in multiple categories for both hypersensitivity and hyposensitivity.
Her pediatrician agreed this sounded like sensory issues and referred us to a private occupational therapist for assessment. She was later put in one early intervention program through our neighborhood school district. I found that we could have started there as well for a free evaluation and services. If you are wondering if your child might have SPD, cCheck your insurance for private OT services – mAll these types of examinations and therapies are covered.
What is the connection between SPD, Autism, and ADHD?
“Right now there is no clear connection between why people in the spectrum or who presents with ADHD also have SPD”, Davis says. Bbut “ssensory pprocessing dDisorder, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and ADHD are all neurological disorders. SPD is a comorbidity of the two diseases – aAlthough not every person with ASD or ADHD will also have SPD, often do they. In fact, it is thought that over half of individuals with ADHD also have SPD, and sensory deficits are one of the diagnostic criteria for ASD.” There is also an association between fear and SPD.
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Besides, there was Research that students who are intellectually gifted are more likely to have sensory sensitivities and SPD. However, being sensitive or having another diagnosis such as ADHD or SPD can make it difficult to identify an intellectually gifted student as they do not always test well. As a teacher for the gifted, I can say anecdotally that my gifted students were significantly more sensitive than the general population.
How to help your child deal with SPD
Occupational therapy is a fabulous idea if your child has sensory sensitivities. They are trained to tailor a “sensory diet” to your child’s specific needs being able to see through things their OT lens the rest of us might not Note. For example, our OT noted that one reason my daughter had trouble with solids was because she wasn’t turning the food in her mouth enough. She implemented special feeding therapy to address the problem.
“Parents can help their children by listening first and identifying the root cause of challenging behaviors and find a way to solve this problem,” says Caitlin Sanschagrin OT and co-founder and oowner of Bright Spot Pediatric Therapy. “Modifications can be small but very effective. Even switching sanitizers from gel to spray can make a world of difference for a child who is tactilely defensive.”
Sanschagrin says children with SPD need to improve their skills in self-defence, sensory exploration, and emotion regulation. Give your child the opportunity to express their own opinions and boundaries, engage in a chaotic game or risky gameand practice mindfulness and calming skills.
How to talk to the school about your child’s SPD
SPD is not included in the DSM-5, the official criteria for mental illness, and as such is not always an option for special education. Paulette Selmana school psychologist and special education advocate in Oregon and Washington, explains, “When children have a medical or clinical diagnosis that is affecting their progress in school, they would qualify under the special ed category “Other health impairment,” but due to exclusion from the DSM-5, some children do not qualify for services with an SPD diagnosis alone. For school-age kids, Selman says Your school may offer either an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or 504 for a child with sensory problems, whether or not they qualify for SPD, if they also have another diagnosis, or if “delays in learning, behavior, or socialization occur”. If it “significantly limits” academic progress, you should be able to get housing.
If your child doesn’t need or qualify for special education, Selman emphasizes that home-to-school communication is especially important “for kids who exhibit a lot of behavior at school.” She suggests holding a “team meeting” with teachers, the principal, or other staff working with your child to “go through the clinician’s recommendations regarding school-based support and get input from the teacher as to whether the child has needed anything.” different from everyone else.”
Also Sanshagrin suggests giving teachers and staff “cheat sheets” for your child contain “a brief summary of the child’s personality, interests and strengths, and letting them know which strategies are working well for them and which aren’t,” she says. I also go through “triggers” with the teachers so they know what to look for before a meltdown to help avoid it.
Remember it SPD isn’t something you have to “fix” – it’s something you have to do accommodate. BBy giving our children tools and skills to regulate their bodies and emotions, we can help them integrate their wonderful sensibilities and notice all the sensations around them without becoming overwhelmed.