Autism And Sensory Integration Dysfunction
(Sensory Processing Disorder)
Many wonder... are Autism and Sensory Integration Dysfunction
called Sensory Processing Disorder) the same? Are they related? Do you have to have SPD to have Autism? And vice versa?
These are great questions! At this point in time, the research says they
are indeed two separate and distinct disorders. Dr. Lucy Jane Miller,
author of Sensational Kids conducted one study in which 40 children with
high functioning Autism or Aspergers were tested for SPD. Results showed
78% of the children with Autism or Aspergers also had significant signs
of SPD, 22% did not.*
In another study of 100 children referred for SPD,
0% (none) of the children had Autism.** The significance is less about
the actual numbers but that SPD can exist without Autism and Autism
without SPD, or they can overlap as co-morbid conditions.
Dr's Brock and Fernette Eide, esteemed neurologists and authors of The Mislabeled Child say this about Autism And Sensory Integration
Dysfunction (Sensory Processing Disorder):
"Both children with autistic disorders and those with sensory
processing disorder show difficulties with high-level tasks involving
the integration of different brain areas. These include complex sensory
functions and also emotional regulation. Typically, though, the deficits
seen in children with autism, with greater sparing of higher-order
functions in areas like language, social affiliation, and empathy... The
majority of children with SPD are not autistic because they do not experience breakdowns in the connections that control social affiliation
and emotional empathy.
Like children with autism, children with sensory processing disorder
typically show signs of problems with the long-distance connections that
integrate different areas of their brains, with the cerebellum (which
helps to regulate and 'smooth out' the brain's different perceptions
and responses), and with the frontal lobes (which help coordinate brain
Although there are differences between Autism and Sensory Integration
Dysfunction (or SPD as it is now called), there are more similarities. It is
with this in mind that I dedicate this section of my website to Autism Spectrum
Disorders. It is clear we cannot talk about Sensory Processing / Sensory
Integration without talking about Autism.
So, I leave it to the experienced parents, researchers, and professionals in the
field of Autism and Spectrum Disorders. They truly specialize in this, in a way that does not even compare to what I know.
Below, I share with you the gift of their knowledge, passion, and
* Miller, L.J., S. Schoen, J.Coll, B. Brett-Green, and M. Reale. Final report:
Quantitative psychophysiologic evaluation of Sensory Processing in
children with autistic spectrum disorders. Los Angeles, CA: Cure Autism
Now, February 2005.
** Miller, L. J., J. Coll, J. Koomar, T. May-Benson, S. Schoen, B. Brett-Green, and
M. Reale. "Relations among subtypes of Sensory Modulation Dysfunction."
Manuscript in progress.
Related Autism Resources
Essential Guide To Autism - Discover Vital Information About
Autism & Check For Autistic Traits - Get What Really Works!
Overcoming Food Obsessions In Autism - parents of children with autism
must monitor not just their children’s behavior but their eating habits, too.
Making Learning Fun For Autistic Children - Children with autism seem to
learn best when the instructional material is presented in visual form.
How To Show Love To An Autism Child - Every single autistic child is
different and will react to almost everything differently. Here are some tips
for showing your autistic child affection.
Autism Anxiety Overload - For autism anxiety overload, try behavioral
and dietary modifications first, to see what improvements can be
Activities For Autistic
Children - Activities for autistic children that they can do at
home or at school. For Ages 7-16.
Autism And Supplementation - It's a matter of trial and error.
10 Things Every Child With Autism Wishes You Knew
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