School Psychologist

I think sensory processing issues are real, but that they should be seen as a SYMPTOM of another disorder, rather than a separate diagnostic condition in and of itself. All of the children that I have worked with who have sensory issues could easily meet the diagnostic criteria for one or more of the existing diagnoses established in the DSM-IV.

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Jan 31, 2016
Totally disagree
by: Anonymous

My son has SPD and SPD only. Because he has no other issues he has had a whole lot of trouble getting the help he needs and deserves. He is 8 years old and has only recently started seeing an occupational therapist to help him out. You should read the book.... The Out-of-Sync Child It will help you change your perspective. I have always known my son has had sensory issues, but they had always seemed pretty manageable until just recently. Sounds, smells, clothes textures, certain changes in routine drastically effect my son's ability to function sometimes, but not always. These things keep changing and at one point my son started telling me he wished he could just go to Heaven because of the way he feels and struggles with life on a daily basis. He would ask why did God make me this way? That is by no means easy for a mother to hear. That is when I started demanding he see an occupational therapist to help him deal with his sensory issues. He still has meltdowns; but I am learning more how to help him and he is learning that he is not alone. He only has SPD, and I am certain he is not the only one!!!!

Dec 23, 2010
you've got it backwards
by: Anonymous

No - you've got it backwards. Most dx's you see are very likely caused by SPD. You need to read Jean Ayre's book Sensory Integration and the Child and pay close attention to the parts about learning disabilities and how SPD causes them.

I have long suspected that autism may well be nothing more than SPD in it's most severe form. When a child is so uncomfortable they can't handle any sensory input they turn inward - that is autism in a nutshell. The treatments for autism are also virtually the same as those for SPD - at least they were identical when I was researching this.

My belief is that SPD is the hub of a wheel and everything else - auto-immune disorders, neurological disorders etc are spokes that stem off that hub. In 20 years of reading about SPD, I have not seen anything that convinces me otherwise.

Your biggest handicap is that you are a psychologist first, and your industry has fought long and hard against this dx. But look at the terms you as well as laymen use for mental illness: unbalanced, unstable, loopy, uncentered, off her rocker, cracked, unhinged, etc. It ALL refers to gravitational insecurities, which your profession does not even acknowledge, let alone address! Can you give me even one valid explanation for that?

No, and because you can't, you need to go back and relearn everything you know, because until you do, you are harming people.

Oct 08, 2009
by: Elizabeth Stickle

I see that you have treated many children with SPD, but you do not say if your own children are affected by this disease.

I am the mother of five special needs children who have many different disorders as well as SPD. You are correct in that it does exist as a symptom, but you are seriously wrong in that is is not a disorder in itself.

Our brain is what gives us life and gives us death. Without it according to Gray's Anatomy and Physiology Textbook which our medical system was founded on, we would be dead and unable to retain any knowledge. The brain is the processing center for all ingoing and outgoing information. In Children with SPD the processing is malfunctioning and thus it affects the child's ability to learn,retain, and spit forth a response to given information. For a child to learn they must have attention, executive function, and working / short term memory where the processing takes place. For these children, the processing center, the cerebral cortex, doesn't process information of one type or another. This is why they need a multi-sensory approach to learning and assistive technology as well as brain training.

If you were to investigate what those of you trained in school psychology and education refer to as learning isses and symptoms, you would find that the National Neurological Center has a medical name for every one of these issues. All of them are medical and are caused by problems in the processing center of the brain and manifest themselves through outward behaviors and cause learning problems. The disease is not the educational problem, it is the neurological processing malfunction of the brain SENSORY PROCESSING DISORDER, CENTRAL AUDITORY PROCESSING DISORDER, DYSLEXIA, DYSGRAPHIA, DYSCALCULIA, DYSPRAXIA, APRAXIA AND MANY MORE.

Because it is considered a non-medical need, when services are denied through a given system, these needs are not covered by insurance and thus you have children who are literally falling through the cracks of the school systems and ending up like my oldest son, having a nervous breakdown and cutting because he could not keep up to what the school and his friends expected. You also have a huge amount of parents who are waking up and homeschooling because their children's needs are going unmet by the educators who are smarter than us. WHY IS IT THAT PARENTS WHO DO NOT HAVE A COLLEGE DEGREE CAN PICK UP AND RESEARCH THESE THINGS AND THOSE WITH DEGREES KNOW IT ALL? Y


Sep 03, 2009
Strongly disagree....
by: Tracy Demkowicz

I mean no disrespect at all but I feel you are wrong. My daughter has been evaluated by early intervention, allergists, eye doctor, hearing tests, psychologists, psychiatrists,and play therapists. Among her diagnosis were ADHD, ODD, and PDD. She was treated for all of these medical problems with no improvement at all, in fact at some points got even worse.

After 6 years of this we took her to a neurologist and an OT. The neurologist did blood work, and MRI and an EEG. All tests came back normal...the neurologist told us there was no way that she had ADHD or PDD based on these tests.

She was diagnosed about a month ago with SPD and has made amazing improvement with her OT. I feel if you don't keep an open mind you may be harming a lot of students. My daughters school told us she needed meds too. None of the meds worked for her and even made her worse... she is now med free and better than ever!

Aug 02, 2008
I respectfully disagree
by: Claudia

I understand where you're coming from and I realize many (maybe even most) children have other diagnoses which produce SPD issues as a kind of secondary issue to a larger problem. I have been a teacher and will graduate with my Master's Degree in Special Education in May. I recognize that you are more qualified than I am, but as a mother of a toddler with ONLY an SPD diagnosis, I strongly feel that SPD should be recognized as a stand-alone disorder when warranted. My son will be 3 in a few months and he will "age out" of Early Intervention. This leaves us with very few options for him to receive services. He should be given the same opportunities as other children with SPD, even though he doesn't have a larger, more recognized disorder.

Feb 13, 2008
ADHD combined type/Sensory Intergration Disorder
by: Joy Mom of Trevor

Hello Michele,

Thank you for allowing me to tell Trevor's story on your site.

I should first of all tell you that Trevor is my Biological Grandson. I adopted His half Sister now 7 at age 3 months and years later I adopted him at 2 months and so now I call him my son.

I just had Trevor tested for Autism Spectrum disorder at the Marcus Institute {per the request of his teacher} in Atlanta. He came back clear of Autism but he tested positive for :

ADHD combined Type
Developmental Coordination Disorder & Sensory Integration Disorder

As if all of these weren't bad enough they want now to do one more test; this one is for Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.

I have no idea what his birth parents were doing at the time he was carried in the womb. I do however know that Trevor's sensory issues have been there all along. I first noticed them when he was a baby. He had one blanket that he would let me cover him with; any other blanket and he would cry. Then there was the toys... I would place him on the floor and put toys around him, he would not touch many of them but once during play. He would always choose the soft touch stuffed bunny to play with. Then there were sounds... every time I would flip on the ceiling fan he would scream until I turned it off.

I don't know if you are born with ADHD or not so I don't really know if the cause of Trevor's Sensory deficits are caused due to his other diagnosis or not, but I can say that the sensory issues were the first thing I noticed about him. And I will add that the older Trevor gets the worse they get. I am excited about his soon beginning O.T. and P.T. I pray that it relieves some of this for him.

Feb 04, 2008
by: Anonymous

Very interesting, my sons were put on the autism spectrum because of numerous symptoms that coincide with SPD. After medical testing with bloodwork, MRI of the brain, everything came back normal. They have no food allergies, chromosome abnormalities came back negative... I am now left wondering what's wrong with my boys. I must say that they both have serious sensory issues and they both are improving dramatically with the therapy they are receiving.

One sad dad

Nov 04, 2007
Dual Diagnosis
by: Anne-Marie

I am curious about SPD being a symptom of another disorder. My 4-year old son was recently diagnosed after being evaluated by a speech therapist, psychologist, and occupational therapist. He has had an audiological examination as well. He is above average in all areas and has met all developmental milestones on time or early. However, he cannot function in a classroom or in a noisy store, or a social function without constant guidance. He becomes extremely anxious at times when he is overwhelmed/overstimulated. Could anxiety be part of a dual diagnosis? Thank you.


I hope our psychologist responds as well, or any others. Meanwhile, my experience has been that the symptoms of SPD CAUSE the anxiety. In other words, if someone is overwhelmed by sensory stimuli, they will experience anxiety before or during overwhelming stimuli. And, yes, there often is a dual diagnosis of SPD and anxiety disorder. My daughter can vouch for that, and the SPD causes her anxiety, big time!

Anyone else have an opinion? A thought? Let's talk about it.

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