Wednesday, September 26, 2012

ADHD, Autistic or Sensory Processing Disorder?

Is Your Child ADHD, Autistic or have Sensory Integration Disorder


My grandson's third therapist told his parents that he was not ADHD or Autistic but rather has a Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). Since he flapped his hands, walked on his tip-toes, covered his ears when in noisy places, and even hit his head on the wall, we can understand how it was misdiagnosed. The therapist further stated that many children are misdiagnosed.  Children who are under or over-processing stimuli may appear ADHD or autistic. Perhaps a second opinion should be sought before a child is put on medicine when Occupational Therapy may be the answer, especially if you are having doubts about a diagnosis or your child is not improving. A study suggests that one in every six children has sensory issues that impede their daily functioning, socialization and learning.

  
WHAT IS SENSORY INTEGRATION?

Sensory integration is the process by which information from our senses (touch, sight, hearing, taste, smell, as well as balance) is interpreted by the brain so that we can respond appropriately to our environment. 

SENSORY PROCESSING DISORDER is defined  as a neurological disorder causing difficulties with taking in, processing, and responding to sensory information about the environment and from within the body (visual, auditory, tactile, olfaction, gustatory, vestibular, and proprioception). For some children with SPD, information reaching the senses often feels like an assault of competing stimuli. 



SENSORY PROCESSING FOR PARENTS AND PROFESSIONALS states: "Sensory Processing Disorders develop when sensory information is not adequately processed. This happens especially with the sensory information generated by touch, movement and body posture. We are not sufficiently aware of our body or our movements. As a result, many activities go wrong, are carried out too slowly or illogically. We see that in children who do not pay enough attention when carrying out certain activities. Sometimes these children become hyperactive, or the reverse, very quiet, anxious, withdrawn or dreamy.  

"Whenever sensory processing does not function right, this often causes additional problems for children who are hyperactive, anxious, clumsy or  highly sensitive. This also applies to children with DCD, an allergy, ADHD, PDD-NOS, autism, Asperger Syndrome, Down Syndrome, as well as children with a motor handicap, a mental or intelligent handicap. Small infants , teens and adults can also suffer from SPD. For example, infants who cry most of the time or are easily distressed."


The SPD FOUNDATION, a treasure of information, states: "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."



Occupational therapy for SPD in children is fun! "During sensory-based OT sessions, the therapist and your child interact in a sensory-rich environment with lots of swinging, spinning, tactile, visual, auditory, and taste opportunities that seem to a child more like a giant playground than a therapy center. Sessions are subtly structured so your child is challenged but always successful in completing each activity. When OT is effective, children improve their ability to accurately detect, regulate, interpret, and execute appropriate motor and behavioral responses to sensations so they are able to perform everyday occupations in a functional manner. These occupations include playing with friends, enjoying school or work, completing daily routines such as eating, dressing, sleeping, and enjoying a typical family life."

MORE RESOURCES:
 



My daughter has sensory issues and says things like, "I don't know" if I ask her if the water is too hot or too cold. She has trouble balancing on a bike and prefers riding in the car in the backseat rather than the front seat which seems to bombard her with too much stimuli. My grandson has made great progress with therapy including therapeutic horseback riding lessons. Finding the right diagnosis at a young age can help your child receive the proper treatment and have a brighter future.



     
Would you like inexpensive ideas, activities, and games to teach your child through play - the SENSORY way? Mommy with Selective Memory and I can help save your sanity, one project at a time, with The Happy Mommy Handbook: The Ultimate How-to Guide on Keeping Your Toddlers and Preschoolers Busy, Out of Trouble and Motivated to Learn. Or perhaps you'd like a glimpse into Kindergarten. Both are bestsellers and also available on Barnes & Noble and Kobo. The ebooks are only $3.99.
 








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55 comments:

  1. This is interesting because I have heard how some things get misdiagnosed. I hope that everything will be okay for your grandson!

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  2. My grandson is doing remarkably well. We were trying to learn sign language when he wasn't talking at age 3 - now he is in the top of his class and has moved off the autism scale to PDD-NOS. He's a "normal" acting 2nd grader. Thanks for asking.

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    1. My daughter Katelynn has SPD according to her therapist, we have had her in therapy since the age if 1 year, it has helped so much, she has been diagnosed with PDD, my understanding is that this is "mild autism". Could you educate me on your understanding of PDD and what more I can do to help her. We are just starting to move past some texture issues with foods, she is trying new things now. Katie is just 4, just had open heart surgery, and had improved in all areas, of her sensory issues. The iPad has been extremely helpful to her, she can navigate it better than me. I have read several SPD books and I believe this to be the main problem as well as her therapists. Thank you so much for the great information.

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    2. This is from Autism Speaks: "PDD-NOS stands for Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified. Psychologists and psychiatrists sometimes use the term “pervasive developmental disorders” and “autism spectrum disorders” (ASD) interchangeably. As such, PDD-NOS became the diagnosis applied to children or adults who are on the autism spectrum but do not fully meet the criteria for another ASD such as autistic disorder (sometimes called “classic” autism) or Asperger Syndrome.

      Like all forms of autism, PDD-NOS can occur in conjunction with a wide spectrum of intellectual ability. Its defining features are significant challenges in social and language development.

      Some developmental health professionals refer to PDD-NOS as “subthreshold autism." In other words, it’s the diagnosis they use for someone who has some but not all characteristics of autism or who has relatively mild symptoms. For instance, a person may have significant autism symptoms in one core area such as social deficits, but mild or no symptoms in another core area such as restricted, repetitive behaviors."

      Whew - hope that helps. This is the link with more info or you can google PDD: http://www.autismspeaks.org/what-autism/pdd-nos

      Early Intervention is so helpful. My daughter and grandson loved going to a therapeutic horseback riding center. A chiropractor helped my grandson - his mother thought his neck had been misaligned during the birthing process. Children love swings. Balancing can be helped by placing a board on the ground and encouraging your child to walk on it (like a beam but low to ground).

      You sound like a wonderful dedicated mother. They will improve because of this.

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  3. Great information Susan! I am going to pin this.

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    1. Thank you so much. I'm hoping it helps someone. There are so many children who could be helped with the right therapy - instead of medicine.

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  4. Thanks for this post. Fortunately, my son was diagnosed with SPD at 4 years old, and will, Lord willing, be able to avoid these common misdiagnoses. I know older children on medication for anxiety, bi-polar, and ADHD whom, I believe, may actually have SPD. I recommend an OT evaluation to any mom who even SUSPECTS it MIGHT be a fit. OT therapy is doing wonders for our son!!

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  5. I agree - it is being misdiagnosed - when OT would help instead of medicine. My daughter never was given this diagnosis and now it is so obvious to me - I'll help her at home since she's 22 now. Have a wonderful day and thank you for commenting.

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  6. Susan, what an important post that came at just the right time. We suspect our daughter has SPD and she has an evaluation next week. Pinning this so others can become informed.

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  7. Vicky - So glad this post is helpful. Just wanting to make others aware because so many children are not diagnosed properly and receiving adequate treatment. Thank you for sharing it.

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  8. Thank you so much for this post - this is amazing! My son is 2 and was just diagnosed with SPD. It seems that there is not really that much info out there, so thank you for this!!

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    1. Shannon - I'm so glad it helped. You can find SPD resources by googling "Sensory Processing Disorder." The most professional one is "Sensory Processing Disorder Foundation." Just click on link above. You might like "Raising a Sensory Smart Child" or some of the other books in the carousal. You can probably find them at the library. Thank you so much for visiting and stay in touch. I'd love to know how your son progresses.

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  9. This is fantastic, I have a friend who will love this sending her your link :)

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    1. Thank you so much for visiting. I LOVE your blog. Thanks for sending the link to your friend!

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  10. Thanks!

    My son was diagnosed with SPD about a year and a half ago. He has responded very well to OT! This information is fantastic!

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    1. Your blog is so pretty. I hope you are having a wonderful school year!

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  11. Susan...this is a great post thank you...one of my twins has SPD but i am having to do a lot of my own research as it doesn't seem well understood or resourced here in australia fortunately. many have said ADHD but i just know this isn'tthe case,neither is Autism which was also suspected....i am working my way through some great books but i lvoed this post...thank you x Pinning to my boards now!

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    1. I thought that "Checklist for Raising a Sensory Smart Child" was very interesting. It's under More Resources above. Maybe that book would be available at a library there? Thank you for visiting and pinning.

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  12. I love some of the books you have. I have 3 of them! it helps lots with my girls! This is a great post. I'll be pinning and spreading the word.

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    1. Thank you so much Cassie. Yes, books can help with anything.

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  13. Cassie - Thank you very much! Have a wonderful day. LOVE your blog - so helpful.

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  14. Another great site is UnderstandingSPD.com
    This site is made by an OT that specializes in SPD. My daughter is a sensory seeker and the information she has and the book that she wrote called "Understanding your child's sensory signals" and "The Survival Guide for Travelling with a Sensory Kiddo: From amusement parks, to the beach or a weekend road trip to visit relatives...sensory help is here!" are completely god sends to me!!!

    She also has a Facebook page called Sensory Parents that is very supportive. You actually get an OT responding to you! Her other site Sensory Parents Safe Place to Talk is where you can vent and have other parents pat you on the back via Facebook as we have all been there.

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    1. Thank you so much for this information!

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  15. Thanks for sharing on our Afterschool Linky. It's important information that parents need to be aware of. Just pinned into onto our Parenting Board. http://pinterest.com/educatorsspinon/parents/

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    1. Thank you so much for sharing this post. Your blog is amazing!

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  16. Great information Susan! Thanks for helping to clarify the differences and similarities of these issues!
    glad you shared on tip toe thru tuesday too! so helpful for our mommies!
    xoxo
    Kim

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    1. Kimberly thanks so much for visiting and for having the great linky party!

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  17. I guess the difference between Autism and SPD would be that the other symptoms of autism are lacking in children with SPD. I can see how they could be confusing though. My daughter was officially diagnosed with autism but I personally feel that her symptoms are really TBI and seizure related. The symptoms are so similar and treatment so similar anyway, but somehow it bothers me!

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  18. Sylvia thank you for commenting. Your blog is so inspiring. My daughter also has a seizures disorder and it is soooo frustrating. She has a VNS and it has helped her but not stopped the seizures. I hope you have a blessed day.

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  19. Does gluten free or dairy free diets seem to help SPD ???

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    1. That is a very interesting question. Maybe this site will help: http://www.mothering.com/community/t/1285371/does-gluten-dairy-free-diet-help-with-spd-at-all. Thank you for visiting.

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    2. Thank you for all you do. Pinned you on my Parenting Blog Hop Board. http://pinterest.com/pin/147141112796864435/

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    3. What a great Pinterest board you have. Thank you so much for sharing.

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    4. YES!!!!
      Eliminating gluten and dairy and adding in probiotics has helped my kids immensely.

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    5. Bella - I keep hearing that so it certainly is worth trying. Simply eliminating certain foods has helped people with autism, SPD and ADHD. We are what we eat.

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  20. This is such a wonderful resource! I have it pinned and am going to share on fb page, too! I am a pediatric OT, seen you around on Kids Blogger Network:)I share a lot about sensory processing on my site, as well as feeding difficulties.

    Alisha www.YourKidsTable.com

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    1. Alisha - Your blog is amazing. Thank you so much for your tips. Pinned some of your posts.

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  21. I am so glad that you got the right diagnosis! It sounds like he is doing so well.

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    1. Yes, and my husband is doing so much better now that he has finally been diagnosed with AADD. I wondered why he never finished anything!

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  22. This is a wonderful post, Susan. Thank you for sharing it at the Sunday Showcase.

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    1. Love your showcase, Trisha. Thanks for visiting.

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  23. I too have a daughter with SPD. She was diagnosed when she was just over two and we did occupational and speech therapy with her (she also had difficulty with talking and very low oral motor skills so she couldn't chew or eat properly) and that early intervention was SO important. Now at nearly 4, most do not see the symptoms of her SPD as they are not as obvious and we can manage them better. We were even able to take her Disneyland this summer and she did so much better than I could have ever dreamed she would. She is happy now and that has been the best outcome out of all the diagnosis, research and treatment. She is truly happy and she is such a blessing!

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    1. Shawnna - thank you so much for sharing your story. So happy that your daughter has made such wonderful progress. Early intervention is so important. Glad you recognized the need and went for it!

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  24. My son has been diagnosed with all 3 and confirm diagnosis of all 3. Thank you for the post of tools.

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    1. Very interesting. Diagnosis is so crucial to a good outcome. Glad you were persistent. Thanks for sharing.

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  25. Over time, a lot of research has been done regarding ADHD and the appropriate ADHD treatment is now available. The mother and father of kids experiencing ADHD have discovered different choices in handling the indicators proven by their kids.

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    1. Very interesting site you have and I hope other will visit. Thank you so much for leaving the info.

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  26. My son was Diagnosed PDD when he was 5. He is now 9. I have been fighting our school district non stop. May I ask if you think 30 min per week of OT is Sufficient for a child with a lot of Sensory needs?

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    1. It can be so frustrating to fight for your child to have more services. The school may be restrained by budget to allow more OT. You may have to seek outside therapy. Perhaps your insurance will pay for it?

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    2. If you live near a university - your child might qualify for free services from students earning degrees. Or perhaps there is an advocacy group in your town who can guide you to more services or give you insight as to how to acquire them through your school district. Also, if you google Occupational Therapy - you will find many resources that will give you ideas on how you can help your child at home.

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  27. Sensory comforters for autistic children can be in the form of something fun, like the Cuddleuppets (as shared by Wendy at her Savette.com website). You can sneak a peek at these soft / snuggly comforters at http://handi-dandi-crafts.com.

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  28. Our family was diagnosed with ADD by Dr. Grace Ketterman when our son was in the second grade, however, when a girlfriend's son was diagnosed with SPD, I thought about some of the sensory issues I and my son has had and wondered if we have a bit of it too. Our son was a premie and in the first week of life, could not stand to have his eyes covered while under the lights. Nobody believed me that he was pulling the mask off himself until a nurse fought with him all night long. He never could stand loud noises and when in a crowd would get aggressive. He was colicky and would scream when I put him in his swing. And he loved to cling to me as close as he could get -- skin to skin even up to the age of 5. I've always been a klutz and can't stand itchy clothing. Any of this sound familiar?
    Several years ago, I took a NAMI.org Family to Family Educational Course that was very helpful. I also have some of our story on my gratitude journal.
    I found you through a link on Pinterest.

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    1. Thank you so much for the information. I LOVE your blog. We all need a reminder to be more grateful. So glad you found some help for your family. Your story is a familiar one. Have a blessed day.

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  30. My daughter has been diagnosed w adhd since 2007, I've been saying sensory is an issue w her not wearing sock, tag problems. They give her zoloft. I've done all research on adhd, but never know that spd was something. I believe that my daughter has a type of this. She also has o.d.d. oppositional defiant disorder. And once separation anxiety now general. This has opened my eyes. Thanks so much. GOD BLESS

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