SPD evaluation

Abbigail - posted on 05/16/2010 ( 9 moms have responded )




We are in the what if he has SPD phase. My 6 yr old son has been having issues since he was real little with anxiety and sensory issues. Be sought behavioral health intervention and was told that his issues were only anxiety or a little OCD. But since he started kindergarten this year we are concerned. His pediatrician mentioned the possiblity of sensory disorder after his constant complaints of vague aches/pain. It's hard to put into words the issues he faces. Even now I try to think how to explain and I think maybe I'm overreacting. Can anyone relate?

showers send him into a panic attack
unable to eat certain types of foods
loud noises or repetitive noises cause extreme agitation
physically unable to participate in anything messy
no tags in clothes
no noisy clothes (athletic type pants)
unable to sit still in a group setting because he brain is in overload
socks have to be a certain way
no tie shoes because his laces cannot touch his socks/pants
wearing snowpants over his clothes sends him into a dither and panic tantrum
clothes near his skin are perceived as pain
he is unable to change handle changes in routine
extreme emotions

it;s hard to explain. anyone out there relate?
it's hard to explain.


Peggy - posted on 05/25/2010




i know im probably being a pain and some may say a nuicance but i also found this that might help u and anyone else for that matter



All of us have experienced "sensory overload" at some point, whether it's during a loud rock concert or at a time of significant stress when wearing an itchy sweater feels unbearable. When these types of sensations interfere with everyday living, however, they become atypical and should be addressed therapeutically. The following are a few of the more common symptoms and signs of sensory integration dysfunction:

-Overly sensitive to touch, movement, sights or sounds; this may be manifested in behaviors such as withdrawal when touched, avoidance of certain textures on clothes or of food, or a fearful reaction to ordinary movement activities, such as playground equipment

-Under-sensitivity to stimulation; this child may seek out intense sensory experiences, such as whirling or crashing into objects; he may also seem oblivious to pain

-Activity level that is unusually high or low

-Coordination problems

-Poor organization of behavior; this child may be impulsive or distracted and show a lack of planning in approaching tasks

-Poor self concept; sometimes a child who experiences any of these problems just doesn't feel quite right and may figure out ways to avoid situations that are difficult for them, leading to others thinking the child is stubborn or troublesome

Sensory Processing Disorders

Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) Dr. Lucy Jane Miller

Sensory processing (sometimes called "sensory integration" or SI) is a term that refers to the way the nervous system receives messages from the senses and turns them into appropriate motor and behavioral responses. Whether you are biting into a hamburger, riding a bicycle, or reading a book, your successful completion of the activity requires processing sensation or "sensory integration."

Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD, formerly known as "sensory integration dysfunction") is a condition that exists when sensory signals don't get organized into appropriate responses. Pioneering occupational therapist and neuroscientist A. Jean Ayres, PhD, likened SPD to a neurological "traffic jam" that prevents certain parts of the brain from receiving the information needed to interpret sensory information correctly. A person with SPD finds it difficult to process and act upon information received through the senses, which creates challenges in performing countless everyday tasks. Motor clumsiness, behavioral problems, anxiety, depression, school failure, and other impacts may result if the disorder is not treated effectively.

Research by the SPD Foundation indicates that 1 in every 20 children experiences symptoms of Sensory Processing Disorder that are significant enough to affect their ability to participate fully in everyday life. Symptoms of SPD, like those of most disorders, occur within a broad spectrum of severity. While most of us have occasional difficulties processing sensory information, for children and adults with SPD, these difficulties are chronic, and they disrupt everyday life.

What SPD looks like

SPD can affect people in only one sense–for example, just touch or just sight or just movement–or in multiple senses. One person with SPD may over-respond to sensation and find clothing, physical contact, light, sound, food, or other sensory input to be unbearable. Another might under-respond and show little or no reaction to stimulation, even pain or extreme hot and cold. In children whose sensory processing of messages from the muscles and joints is impaired, posture and motor skills can be affected. These are the "floppy babies" who worry new parents and the kids who get called "klutz" and "spaz" on the playground. Still other children exhibit an appetite for sensation that is in perpetual overdrive. These kids often are misdiagnosed - and inappropriately medicated - for ADHD.

SPD is most commonly diagnosed in children, but people who reach adulthood without treatment also experience symptoms and continue to be affected by their inability to accurately and appropriately interpret sensory messages.

These "sensational adults" may have difficulty performing routines and activities involved in work, close relationships, and recreation. Because adults with SPD have struggled for most of their lives, they may also experience depression, underachievement, social isolation, and/or other secondary effects.

Sadly, misdiagnosis is common because many health care professionals are not trained to recognize sensory issues. The SPD Foundation is dedicated to researching these issues, educating the public and professionals about their symptoms and treatment, and advocating for those who live with Sensory Processing Disorder and sensory challenges associated with other conditions.

The causes of SPD

What causes Sensory Processing Disorder

The exact cause of Sensory Processing Disorder–like the causes of ADHD and so many other neurodevelopmental disorders–has not yet been identified. However, preliminary studies and research suggest some leading contenders.

- from Sensational Kids: Hope and Help for Children With Sensory Processing Disorder by Lucy Jane Miller, PhD, OTR

What causes Sensory Processing Disorder is a pressing question for every parent of a child with SPD. Many worry that they are somehow to blame for their child's sensory issues.

"Is it something I did?" parents want to know.

The causes of SPD are among the subjects that researchers at SPD Foundation and their collaborators elsewhere have been studying. Preliminary research suggests that SPD is often inherited. If so, the causes of SPD are coded into the child's genetic material. Prenatal and birth complications have also been implicated, and environmental factors may be involved.

Of course, as with any developmental and/or behavioral disorder, the causes of SPD are likely to be the result of factors that are both genetic and environmental. Only with more research will it be possible to identify the role of each.

A summary of research into causation and prevalence is contained in Sensational Kids: Hope and Help for Children With Sensory Processing Disorder (New York: Perigee, 2006).

Emotional and other impacts of SPD

Children with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) often have problems with motor skills and other abilities needed for school success and childhood accomplishments. As a result, they often become socially isolated and suffer from low self-esteem and other social/emotional issues

These difficulties put children with SPD at high risk for many emotional, social, and educational problems, including the inability to make friends or be a part of a group, poor self-concept, academic failure, and being labeled clumsy, uncooperative, belligerent, disruptive, or "out of control." Anxiety, depression, aggression, or other behavior problems can follow. Parents may be blamed for their children's behavior by people who are unaware of the child's "hidden handicap."

Effective treatment for SPD is available, but far too many children with sensory symptoms are misdiagnosed and not properly treated. Untreated SPD that persists into adulthood can affect an individual's ability to succeed in marriage, work, and social environments.

How SPD is treated

Most children with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) are just as intelligent as their peers. Many are intellectually gifted. Their brains are simply wired differently. They need to be taught in ways that are adapted to how they process information, and they need leisure activities that suit their own sensory processing needs.

Once children with SPD have been accurately diagnosed, they benefit from a treatment program of occupational therapy (OT) with a sensory integration (SI) approach. When appropriate and applied by a well-trained clinician, listening therapy (LT) or other complementary therapies may be combined effectively with OT-SI.

Occupational therapy with a sensory integration approach typically takes place in a sensory-rich environment sometimes called the "OT gym." During OT sessions, the therapist guides the child through fun activities that are subtly structured so the child is constantly challenged but always successful.

The goal of OT is to foster appropriate responses to sensation in an active, meaningful, and fun way so the child is able to behave in a more functional manner. Over time, the appropriate responses generalize to the environment beyond the clinic including home, school, and the larger community. Effective occupational therapy thus enables children with SPD to take part in the normal activities of childhood, such as playing with friends, enjoying school, eating, dressing, and sleeping.

Ideally, occupational therapy for SPD is family-centered. Parents are involved and work with the therapist to learn more about their child's sensory challenges and methods for engaging in therapeutic activities (sometimes called a "sensory diet)" at home and elsewhere. The child's therapist may provide ideas to teachers and others outside the family who interact regularly with the child. Families have the opportunity to communicate their own priorities for treatment.

Treatment for SPD helps parents and others who live and work with sensational children to understand that Sensory Processing Disorder is real, even though it is "hidden." With this assurance, they become better advocates for their child at school and within the community.

Copyright 2010 Quality Therapy Toys. All rights reserved.

Peggy - posted on 05/25/2010




oh yeah it does sound a lot like my zac used to.first off do you have a childrens hospital anywhere near you. like here in wisconsin we have marshfiled hospital which has a huge childrens hospital. id have him seen by a behavioral peditrican and have a full eval. what they did with my son is we wet with the behavorial peditrian, a occupational therapist, a speech and language therapist, a nuropsychologist,and a psychologist. when zac was diagnoised they diagnoised him spd and low muscle tone (by the ot.) anxiety nos (by the psychologist), and he has a speech and lang disorder (speech therapist) see the behavoial peditrian thought he also had pdd, but the other doctors dismissed it which is really screwing me over now that this month at shool the school phychologist dx zachary with emotional behavioral disorder. so yeah its a long journey sometimes but his snsory problems could be autism related as well. i dont want to spook u with that thought but it is a possiblity. so i would recommend u get him tested. and with the disorders you mentioned that the doctor dx him with or said were probilble, im surprised ur doc hasnt recommended or givien you a referal for. also im surprised the school hasnt done any comprehensive testings. and you know what if all else fails i know it sounds harsh but if your peditriain wont help u find one that will. i had to change my sons doctor bc our doctor waited till zachary was two years old to refer him to birth to three for speech. now had i know then what i know now that i could have gone to b-3 and asked for an eval i wouldnt have waited till he was two, but yeah his doc waited that long to check him. how sad is that right. but anyway keep me updated and feel free to add me as a friend. i so know what you are going through.

Amanda - posted on 03/24/2011




I ended up writing a 4 page letter and attached the SPD checklist and gave to my daughter's pediatrician requesting an evaluation. I did research for OT's in my area that deal with SPD kids and asked for the referral. You are your child's best advocate. Trust your instincts.

Ellyn - posted on 07/28/2010




Abbigail, I can relate, I think we all can in some way. My son is only 15 mos. and has been recently diagnosed, he is the total opposite of your son, he is more of a sensory seeker and is hypo sensitive to most things, whereas it sounds like your son is responding as hypersensitive to most things. Both cause problems and make life difficult. I'm trying to educate myself as much as possible so I can understand everything he's going through. My job of being a special needs preschool teacher's assistant has definitely helped, prob. why he's had such an early diagnosis, b/c I spotted it from a mile away, since I've seen it everyday for so many years! The Out of Sync Child has been a super helpful book, and finding a good OT is key, you have to like them and so does your child. I've also found the website sensory-processing-disorder.com to be very helpful. They also have a store on there and links to places that sell seamless socks and some great sensory and adaptive toys and things, things they use at OT and school, and it's awesome. All the best to you, and hang in there. One of my favorite little boys ever in all my years has been a boy w/ SPD. He was challenging at first and sounds very similar to your son, but he had so much love and a fun sense of humor and he just really grew on us, and i was so sad that he had to leave us this year to go on to the next class. Noise cancelling headphones can really help when in noisy/busy places.

Sylvia - posted on 06/04/2010




He needs OT and quick. They have a special brush to use 4x per day to help with his sensitivity. There are also special cds he can listen to to help him regulate himself. OT has saved my child! you are not overreacting it is a very real disorder that only OT can help.


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Jennie - posted on 02/29/2012




Totally can relate I just started this search for my son Brad. He has some of the same issues. I'm trying to find an evaluation and see what kind of OT can help kids.

Tami - posted on 07/09/2010




You pretty much described my 3 and a half year old Grandson!
You are not alone. His 7 yr old cousin has SPD too. He has not had a formal evaluation yet. He also seems to have Aspergers, his cousin has that too and it seems to run in our family

I will addhis traits to your list when I have the time. He has some other ones and a lot of the ones you listed.

Lisa - posted on 07/05/2010




Sound like my son We are still having some more test done but we not sure still.

Peggy - posted on 05/25/2010




also check out the books the out-of sync child, the out of sync child has fun, and check out the website



this one i have nvr checked out but just now found in my search for spd websites


also look into a weighted blanket it gives comfort when they need it, um and try to get a hold of some of those magizines with therepy toys in it. ill realy quick look up what i can.






this one tells u how to make ur own toys...

Homemade Therapy Toys for Special Needs Children

Tips for making Homemade Therapy Toys for Special Needs Children


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