Sensory processing vs anxiety

by Tracy
(Oregon)

My child, age 7, is diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder and the psychologist seems to ignore her sensory processing problems. She has no tolerance for certain things touching her skin (i.e. lotion, tags,sock, underwear) as well as being extremely uncomfortable with big or fast movements (i.e. swings, bike, any rough housing)


I am told that these sensory issues are due to hypervigilance with anxiety, but she has had these sensory problems since birth and I don't think infants can have anxiety disorders. We are at a standstill with treatment, Docs want to use medication, I don't. Would it even do any good to push the sensory issue?

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Nov 04, 2013
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SPD
by: Anonymous

My child has SPD and we are Vital links listening therapy. It was recommended by my best friend in the world and it is suppose to help with anxiety and and SPD.

Jun 03, 2013
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OT eval
by: Anonymous

Anxiety is caused by sensory issues. Help the sensory help the anxiety at least a little and it can be helpful to their overall sense of self! :)

Dec 14, 2012
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Prenatal and perinatal anxiety
by: Anonymous

I can't speak to whether or not you should push, but I did want to comment on your point that infants can't have anxiety disorders... There are prenatal and perinatal situations that can lead to anxiety in the child. For instance, if the mother has high levels of cortisol (stress hormone) in her system during pregnancy (either due to mother's experience of trauma, PTSD, an anxiety disorder, or high stress in general), that'll affect the infant in development and may lead to anxiety issues in the infant. Of course, I'd imagine it could also lead to sensory processing issues, so...

Additionally, attachment styles develop very very early in infancy (see Siegal's work on attachment styles). Certain styles of attachment, visible in early infancy (see the Strange Experiment studies), such as avoidant and ambivalent attachment, have anxiety as a core component.

Oct 22, 2012
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similar experience with my 7 year old boy
by: Anonymous

He is going to be evaluated by an OT. He always has been very anxious and I truly believe the OT will help him. Since baby he can't stand to get dirty, sweaty. He hates sensory table. He has to wear his socks and pants a certain way. I can't pet his hair because he says it hurts. Shower hurts him too. Strong gag reflex when he eats smooth food. A lack of coordination. He is afraid of height and can't walk on a beam. I just thought my son was very difficult until my daughter's OT said that he possibly could have a spd. I am filling all the paperwork for an OT evaluation. I hope for the best and hope he will be less anxious.

Feb 25, 2012
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spd
by: Anonymous

I would push for the SPD treatment, it might help lessen the anxiety. Get your pediatrician to write for you to have an OT eval.

Nov 28, 2010
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dealing with a child with anxiety
by: Ka from California

Hi,

We have a daughter who has been diagnosed with anxiety as well. She has made significant progress with the help of an OT (for sensory issues, fine and gross motor delays), and a psychologist to help her to deal with the feelings etc.

I would pursue therapists first to see if that will help. You may want to seek a second opinion. Some specialists are too quick to push medication. Many of the medications have side effects that you will want to be aware of upfront. We have friends whose children have experienced the down side of medication before finding the right med.

Oct 02, 2010
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I'd push.
by: S

I have a 4-year-old with anxiety and mild SPD. I agree -- this sounds like SPD, not just anxiety. Good luck!

Apr 30, 2010
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response to anxiety
by: Anonymous

You really need to see an OT that deals with SPD. I can tell you that before we got help for our daughter, she did show signs of anxiety. She just needed the correct treatment for her spd through OT and her anxiety disappeared.

good luck

Feb 20, 2010
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re: sensory processing vs.anxiety
by: Nicole OT

You need to take your child to a pediatric occupational therapist...it definitely sounds as though you are dealing with sensory processing disorder. There have been many cases where I've seen children diagnosed with anxiety disorders, ADHD, OCD, etc. and following intensive occupational therapy services they have "lost the diagnosis" or been taken off/avoided medication all together! GOOD LUCK!

Feb 11, 2010
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I'd push.
by: Anonymous

It is truly unfortunate how many health professionals choose to ignore/dismiss SPD. I have gone through a lot of red tape trying to get help for my daughter. I had always adored our pediatrician but even she wasn't on board at first. It's taken over a year to get where we are now and I still feel like I have to fight. But I promise if your child truly has sensory issues(and it does sound that way) it is worth the fight! Our OT is invaluable to us for all that she does. She not only helps my daughter but gives me the support I've been seeking for so long. And you know your child better than anyone. Find out how to get referred to an OT for an evaluation as soon as you can. Good Luck!

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