Is SPD a REAL diagnosis? In a
What it DOES mean is this... Sensory Processing Disorders are extremely difficult to get good, solid controlled studies for. The reason for this is partially co-morbidity. So many people who have a Sensory Processing Disorder also share other diagnoses; anything from Autism to Aspergers, Mental Retardation to Developmental Delays, Down Syndrome to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Anxiety to Fragile X and ADHD... and the list goes on.
Additionally, because it is still misunderstood and relatively "new" to so many professionals and society in general (even though the theory has been around for almost four decades!), there is a huge number of people who have a significant Sensory Processing Disorder and don't even know it. Even more tragic is that they are being misdiagnosed and not getting the proper treatment!
One more thing on that; please understand the continuum is both important in the "type" of Sensory Processing Disorder (i.e. vestibular, proprioceptive, tactile... hyper- or hypo-sensitive, modulation, emotional, social behavioral difficulties, etc.), as well as the intensity, duration, and its consequent impact on functioning.
DO KNOW this... exciting things are happening in the field. The most recent excitement is the name change from Sensory Integration Dysfunction to Sensory Processing Disorder. There were several wonderful reasons for this.
One of which is to make the medical establishment "understand" this diagnosis from a medical, neurological point of reference. This will make the diagnosis more precise in nature as to what is "going wrong" and how best to treat it.
This in turn, gives way to the second reason... insurance reimbursement. Oh, believe me, there is nothing more frustrating (well a few things maybe) than finally understanding what is "wrong" with your child only to be denied help because insurance companies won't pay for the therapy. It is not fully accepted YET, but we are in the process NOW!
As more people become aware, seek out a proper diagnosis, understand this disorder, understand its neurological basis, and seek treatment... we WILL start to see a "Sensory Processing Disorder revolution".
It is an exciting time to be a part of! (Frustrating at times with the "slowness", but overall exciting in how far we have come in 35 years, i.e. since A. Jean Ayres first coined the term "Sensory Integration Disorder/Dysfunction to describe this neurologically based symptomology).
Her legacy WILL continue as the new term Sensory Processing Disorder will only describe the actual symptomology of this neurological disorder. The theory and treatment will still be based on her critical body of work and evidence...and be called Sensory Integration Theory, as always. This is as it stands now, anyways... but I don't see THAT changing soon.
So have patience, have hope, and keep on fighting for your little kiddos!
WE WILL PREVAIL!
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