There is sometimes, nothing more complicated than a fresh diagnosis. We are in the middle of walking a new journey but one thing is for sure, I’ve got this Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) stuff down!! If you are new to Sensory Processing Disorder or wondering how to get your child diagnosed, I thought I’d share a little bit to help you through. October is Sensory Processing Disorder awareness month, please share this post and spread awareness!
Have you ever wondered why your child refuses to wear pants (tactile)? Doesn’t notice that their face or hands are dirty (tactile)? Refuses to eat crunchy foods (taste)? Prefers to dump all the toys on the floor (sight)? Loves loud noises or hates loud noises (auditory)? Gag’s at the smell of certain foods (olfactory)? These are just a few examples of everyday occurrences that are actually sensory related. There are so many more sensory related everyday experiences,
From as far back to as when our daughter was born, we knew we had a lot of challenges with her and we were at a loss of where to go and what to do in order to get help! Every time we were at the doctor’s office for a sniffle, I would mention the challenges and they would tell me this was normal. I am not a doctor, a psychologist or anyone who can offer medical advice. This is just mom to mom. So, if you at all wonder here’s what you can do…
What is Sensory Processing Disorder?
We actually have eight senses: touch (tactile), taste (gustatory), sight (visual), sound (auditory), smell (olfactory) and there’s three more vestibular (balance, coordination, spatial orientation), proprioception (sense of muscle and joints) and interoception (internal regulation for thirst, hunger, etc.) . Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) occurs when the brain receives mixed messages. Basically it’s the way the brain processes the senses.
A checklist of signs and symptoms of Sensory Processing Disorder.
I think my child might have Sensory Processing Disorder. How can I get my child diagnosed?
Maybe you’ve just heard of this thing called Sensory Processing Disorder and you are wondering how to get to get your child diagnosed. Well, here’s the bad news first. Sensory Processing Disorder is not a standalone diagnostic condition. The American Medical Association does not recognize it in their diagnostic manuals (what doctors use to diagnose). In the DSM-V (what psychologists use as the diagnostic manual), it is listed as a symptom. What that means it is a characteristic of another disorder (such as Autism).
What that all really means for you is that you will find some medical professionals who discount SPD as a disorder. The thing is that, Sensory Processing Disorder can be a standalone disorder by itself. It is recognized by a lot of medical professionals and teachers as a disorder. We just aren’t there yet in the diagnostic manuals (confusing I know).
Should I get my child evaluated?
My take on this as a mom is that if you have concerns about your child then, YES! It never hurts to have an evaluation done. One of the things I always ask is how much is this effect you and your child’s daily living? This is usually the definition of disorder. When it makes daily living a challenge then you know!
Where can I go to get my child evaluated?
There are a few places and people that you can seek out for help. If your child is 5 and under, you may qualify through an Early Education center in your area for evaluation. Usually, they are called Early Intervention.
You can also, look for a psychologist in your area that is knowledgeable and has experience with Sensory Processing Disorder. You will also want to look for an Occupational Therapist that has pediatric experience and is familiar with Sensory Processing Disorder.
My child got diagnosed with SPD now what?
I know the feeling, you want to do everything possible to help your child and you are anxious to do so. The first thing I would recommended is starting with a few great resources to grown your knowledge of SPD.
Want to know more about Sensory Processing Disorder as a whole, The Out of Sync Child by Carol Kranowitz, is the best book to read. This will help you understand all the senses and how they affect our neurological system.
Wondering what kind of fun, creative, and easy activities you can do at home, Sensory Processing 101 is a must have! This book is loaded with activities for you and your child to have fun together, while experiencing some at home therapy!
What toys and tools would be helpful to have in my home?
Coming soon …my toy guide… will be here just in time for Christmas shopping! Join my mailing list to find out more.
Until then, check out some of my favorites here.