Could I have SPD?

by Alice
(UK)

I am a 16 year old college student. My development was normal; I passed all my milestones quickly, and there was never any cause for concern for my parents, except for me being evaluated as having 'poor co-ordination' at primary school. I've done quite well at school, aside from struggling with maths and ICT, and I don't have any real problems academically. However, I have always had the following problems, and after finding out about SPD, I'm wondering whether this could be the cause:


- Noise: I have always had a big problem dealing with noise. High pitched noises and background noises are my main problem. I have a very hard time dealing with screams, shrieking, laughing, and the sounds of people chewing. I find these noises very stressful and often cover my ears. When I was little, I was terrified of loud noises, I can remember being terrified to the point of hysterics by the sound of fireworks or balloons popping. I can also find it hard to concentrate if there is any sort of noise in the background. I am often aware of and irritated by noises that other people don't even notice. Background noise also causes me a lot of problems; if there is a lot of background noise in a place I find it very overwhelming. While most girls my age love shopping, I find it an incredibly stressful experience. I've also left classes before because I couldn't stand the level of noise in the room.

- I'm very fussy about the clothes I wear, because I can't bear to wear anything uncomfortable. I can not stand to wear anything with a tight waistband, that touches my neck, is tight or is made of rough material. Until a few years ago, I also hated wearing anything that covered my arms, and would wear T-shirts even when it started to get cold.

- I find I often mishear people, and I mix up similar sounding words. When watching movies I will often rewind parts because I didn't catch what a character is saying. When I talk I often stumble over words, and sometimes my sentences come out jumbled.

- I have a hard time following explanations, particularly spoken explanations, which was the main cause of my difficulty with maths and ICT. In primary school I can remember always being at least two steps behind everyone else in ICT lessons, and feeling completely overwhelmed and confused. I will often have to read a written explanation or information passage through twice before I really understand it. And I am useless at following directions. I also get the feeling that I am having a harder time than my peers understanding the complexities of things like applying for a job or university place. Although I am fine academically, I seem to have difficulty in these sorts of areas.

- And reading through the list of symptoms, there are other things that stood out, some things I never even thought about previously. Things like shaking your leg when sitting. I do that a lot, often without realising it. I also make odd flexing movements with my fingers, and I tiptoe walk a lot. I do work experience at a nursery, and sometimes find myself absent mindedly picking up a toy car and spinning the wheels. I am also extremely tickilish, and could never stand being tickled. I often get frustrated. And I also have some of the social symptoms listed; I have problems with eye contact, and while at the same time I do like being with other people, I do also like my own company. And I can find making conversation hard, it doesn't come naturally to me, and my habit of stumbling over words makes me feel self-conscious.

What do other people think, people who maybe have SPD themselves? Do you think that SPD could be my problem?

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Dec 24, 2010
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by: Alice

Yeah, I do in fact. I can find it quite difficult to get to sleep sometimes. I also do often find myself frequently snapping at people and losing my temper because of the noises they are making (tongue clicking, tapping, clicking ect). I feel bad about it and try to stop myself, but the majority of the time I end up snapping at people to stop it.

Thanks for your kind advice and encouragement.

Dec 15, 2010
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sounds so familiar
by: Anonymous

Just out of curiosity, do you have a hard time falling asleep at night? Scrunch up your fingers and toes repetitively? Prefer quiet places with the lights off or low? Sometimes get to a snapping point with people/things that are making repetitive, annoying noise over and over and over? Most of the symptoms you described in your post match my 7 y/o daughter to a "T" - she has been diagnosed with SPD, but seems to be finding ways to compensate, the older she gets.

In addition to OT, here are several things that seem to help: Melatonin 1-3mg, 20 minutes before bedtime to help with falling asleep. Google Melatonin - you'll see it's not a habit forming sleeping drug, but a naturally occurring element that some people's body don't make enough of. Multi-vitamin enhanced with DHA (fish oil) has helped tremendously with staying focused long enough to accomplish multi-step tasks (like: first brush your teeth, then brush you hair than come and get your coat on). Exercise in the forms of swimming, yoga and pilates. Public pools are loud, but the benefit of the feel of the water seems to out weigh the stress of the loudness. Epsom salts baths with lavender - or some other scent you like. Epsom salts seem to have an amazing array of benefits - and they are inexpensive.

Good luck with your journey - I hope you will find something here helpful as you start to explore your sensitivities.

Dec 12, 2010
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could it be spd
by: Anonymous

I think you have nothing to lose by asking for an OT assessment. Then you will be reassured.

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