Ask Kathryn: I Think my Child has SPD, What Should I do?
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Hard to believe it’s the beginning of a new month especially that it’s the beginning of October! It’s time again for my “Ask Kathryn” segment and I am excited to share with you several emails I have from ladies asking questions about SPD. I have received so many about this subject, that I can’t post them all, but here are two that I thought needed to be answered. The answer below them is generic as to help anyone who may be wondering the same thing. Hope it helps!
I feel that I have to share our experiences with someone. Our daughter, Kaeleigh has always had some mild symptoms of SPD but in the last year or two, since puberty hit, her symptoms have exploded and she is having a lot of difficulty with everyday life and school is becoming impossible, although she insists on going to the point that she hides her symptoms just so she can continue being in school. Her symptoms are so bad that she no longer has any friends because she cannot be with them (can you imagine someone with SPD dealing with squealing, hugging, teenage girls?) and she says that she sits in class and doesn’t understand anything the teacher is saying. She can’t go shopping because of the lights, sounds, smells, etc.
The thing is that we have two problems: 1. We can’t find a professional who will take us seriously in terms of SPD – they either won’t acknowledge its existence or say that her case is so unique that they don’t know how to treat it. 2. We can’t find many examples of teenaged cases such as hers – most people, like yourselves, have toddlers who are being diagnosed and we can sympathize, but the cases are different.Can anyone help us?-Reilly
I had to email you after finding your blog when researching “Sensory Processing Disorder” as I think this might explain my 3 year old son. Eating has been a terrible battle since he was tiny that most people don’t understand. He doesn’t seem to feel hunger and vomiting used to be a part of every meal. It’s so hard to get him to eat anything with more texture than applesauce for the longest time. Meat was a toughie for while. Pasta, mashed potatoes, and stuff like that can still be an issue. His little 9 month old sister isn’t anything like this. The pediatrician would just tell me he was slow outgrowing his gag reflex. I came to the conclusion myself that it must be some type of sensory issue but haven’t ever done testing. He also has always hated to get his hands messy unlike his sister who doesn’t mind at all. Would love to hear from you!
First, I would like to say that it can be very hard to find someone who will diagnose SPD because as of right now SPD is not considered an actual disorder in the medical field. It can also be hard to get the insurance to pay for the therapy, but with help from the right Occupational Therapists you can get the therapy you need for your child. Here are a few things to help you get started:
1. Find an OT who is trained in Sensory Processing Integration or some kind of Sensory training.
An Occupational Therapist (OT) should be able to give you a diagnoses of SPD if that’s what you think may be wrong with your child. A good OT will also know how to help your child’s sensory issues through sensory play and also through sensory integration. Make sure you ask if they have been certified in sensory integration or some kind of sensory training.
A Psychologist can also give you a diagnoses on way or the other. Autism and SPD drive a fine line and sometimes it may be hard to tell the difference between the two. A Psychologist can do all the testing required to find out what is really wrong with your child and having those diagnoses will really help with the insurance costs.3. Do some research.
I can’t stress this one enough. One of the best ways to help your child is to be their advocate. Study research, read up, and do everything you can to learn about SPD and how you can help your child. When we first got the diagnoses and even before that I started researching online. There is so j much information about it, you jsut have to look. Also, ask you OT or Psycologist for a list of resources. Here is a good list for you to start with:
- Check out my SPD Pinterest Board full of articles, book suggestions, and more to help your child with SPD.
- SPD Foundation is also an excellent place to start. They are where all the research and treatment for SPD can be found and they also have lists of local support groups.
- Raising a Sensory Smart Child & The Out-of-Sync Child – books I highly recommend on the subject of SPD.
- Start following and reading posts, articles, and questions from these two Facebook pages: Raising a Sensory Smart Child & SPD Connect.
- The SPD Blogger Network also has some great info and support!
The SPD Foundation has a list of local SPD support groups all around the world. SPD Connect on Facebook is one of the best online support groups I’ve seen and you are able to ask questions too. Here is what they say about their page: “Join the most active Facebook page for sensory challenges. Get help, share ideas and resources. Network with parents, medical professionals and educators today!” It’s a great place to get support and ask questions about SPD. I’m sure there are other places too, you just have to search them out!
5. For those that have children with feeding problems…
Not sure if you child has a feeding disorder or is just picky? Check out this article: Picky Eater vs. Feeding Disorder. If you think your child may have feeding problems please see a feeding therapist/speech therapist to diagnose problems. We currently are seeing a feeding therapist who uses the SOS method and we are seeing slow improvements.
For any more questions please feel free to email me or read my previous posts on this subject: SPD/Autism.
Great tips, Kathryn! I also think those two books are great and will check out your website recommendations. A couple of other things that have REALLY helped us are going to the chiropractor (not necessarily the traditional kind but one that is familiar with SPD), and also craniosacial massage therapy. Both are treatments I highly recommend for kids with SPD.
Thanks Jodi! I wish Tricare covered chiropractor care, but they don’t. There is no way we could afford it. His therapist does do compression joints occasionally and we do the brushing as well. Those are similar I believe and seem to help.
Hey! I’m at work surfing around your blog from my new iphone! Just wanted to say I love reading through your blog and look forward to all your posts! Keep up the excellent work!
Thank you for the post. I now have you in my google reader.
The paediatrician suggested I read the out of sync child, and the educational psychologist has also mentioned sensory issues. We are going to see the OT next month…I think it seems as though my 3 1/2 yr old has this.
Very kind of you to help others.
So glad this has helped you! I hope you are able to figure things with you son soon!