SPD ...without Autism?

by Concerned Mommy

I've had concerns about my son for quite sometime now. He will be 2 in about 2 weeks. At first, I thought it was autism. His pediatrician didn't believe so because he performed the CLAP test on him and my son "passed". From what he has seen behavior wise in his office he said, my son does not seem autistic.


My little fella is in the First Steps Progam (early intervention for ages 0-3) and is doing well. He's making progress. :)

My son is bright, energetic, and social. He smiles, laughs, engages in play with myself and other kids (plays ball,chase, peek-a-boo, etc). He comes to me if he needs help with something, saying "See" or "This" and reaches it to me.

He points when he wants something and will look if I am pointing at something. Loves animals and shows them affection. He is very loving and gives hugs (and sometimes kissies when he asked). He comes to me for comfort and loves to held and carried. He waves high and bye and will sometimes even say it while doing it.

Now, he does have some "quirks". He loves anything with wheels- cars, planes, trains etc. He loves to flip them over to spin the wheels. It's not obsessive. He will do it for a sec or two, then moves on to another toy. He will also play with the car etc correctly, pushing it around the room saying "vroom vroom". He doesn't get upset if you tske the cars away or if yoy join him to play.

He does have a speech delay but is making progress. He was tested by an ENT specialist and found to have significantly bad hearing due to fluid in the ears. So my son was given tubes about 2 months ago and is making progress with speech now. He's finally learning as he should have so many months ago.

He also does this hand/finger thing...but only certain times and not all the time. He will look at his fingers while moving them around when I am changing him, he is laying down with a bottle and sometimes eating in his high chair. It's kind of like "Let's see how they work" or something. He doesn't do this when he's excited or any other time. So I don't know if this is "hand flapping" or not.

He does this eye thing, like so many have stated on here. He looks out the corner of his eyes. At first I thought he just liked to do it. He only does it for a second or two then goes on to look at things normally. It's a rare occurrence too but I have noticed it.

He loves light switches, TV buttons and cabinets. It's not an all day thing by no means, but he loves to turn things on and off and to open and close. He will do it for awhile then move on to his toys when he is bored with it.

Oh, one other detail I should mention. He was a preemie (almost 2 months early) and spent a significant amount of time in the NICU (56 days) due to apnea of prematurity.

I might agree with the ped on it's not autism per say, but it's something regardless. His therapists from First Steps do not think he's autistic either (so far). It is truly possible to have SPD without autism? What does the outcome look like for SPD with early therapy etc? Thanks!



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Jul 27, 2016
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My son SPD and hearing evaluation
by: Anonymous

My son just turned two years old. His sister has autism, so we were very afraid it was autism with him. The only sign he showed was the speech delay upon getting his hearing tested they found what they call here glue in both ears we just got the tubes put in yesterday I will be sure to update you guys on progress. Hope you find the answer you're looking for 💕

Jun 02, 2015
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SPD as a teen
by: Mom of a 16 year old

Being a teenager is tough enough. But being a teenager with SPD when you want to feel normal is a lot different. My son is 16 and with raging hormones and SPD he really struggled this last semester in school. He refused to speak French in front of the class and he didn't bother to do the assignments. Two weeks before school was over he was 21 assignments behind in French. In another class he also quit completing the work and failed that class. He is a very smart young man and to see him give up like this has been difficult. Mostly because I am not him and I don't have to work extra hard to break down what is coming at me through my senses.

I do know kids with SPD can do the same thing for hours and hours. When he was little he would get out a bunch of Hot-wheels and spend hours or days organizing them for a race. When he was done organizing them I had to watch him race them and pick the winner. This could take a long time. Now it's his cell phone and texting constantly. I know you may think well all teens do this. But he seriously gets really upset when I ask him to leave it be for awhile. He absolutely refuses to leave it be.

I am hoping a new job will break things up for him and help him to realize it is not all about his phone. He will also be getting his learners permit soon and will get to start driving on the road. But I know we have to take it slow so it'll be parking lots with cars and then on non busy side streets and on from there. I've read that people with SPD have a harder time getting the concept of driving down. But we will get there. Any suggestions on dealing with a teen with SPD please feel free to share.

Apr 19, 2015
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sensory
by: Anonymous

What you have described there was describing my son too.

He too had a reflux. Screeming and banging head. Frustration and anxiety can happen too. From what I have read so far is all about the sensory imput. Overwhelming situations too.

Have u assessed him? Pls advise how u r helping him!

Many thanks


Feb 10, 2011
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My SPD & my son
by: Tennessee Mom

I am a 39 year old mother of three. I have had SPD for as long as I can remember. I also have OCD with nervous tics. They were VERY severe when I was a child. I suffer from panic attacks from time to time due to my SPD and OCD but I have learned to live with my sensory issues. So it definitely does not go hand in hand with autism.

However I am concerned that my 2 year old son has SPD. He has been a screamer/cryer since he was born and the doctor finally put him on alimentum thinking it was reflux. He craves high intensity aggressive play. He hits occasionally when frustrated or mad and he hits the other kids I have with objects, basically as hard as he can. He is very affectionate and clingy. He goes from being thrilled with a situation to furious and throwing himself down on the floor banging his head. I don't feel like sometimes he feels pain like he should but then other times he is so sensitive to everything.

If you look at him with a disapproving look, he will start screaming and crying demanding that you console him. His speech is progressing well even though he does not speak clearly, this may just be a boy thing. He is extremely demanding with his snuggling and craves it. He definitely does not understand personal space. His or yours, he climbs all over me and the other kids, trying to sit on their head and "writhing" in my lap, trying to get comfortable. He climbs everything and just cannot cope with basic frustration and play with objects.

He seems extremely intelligent even though there are moments where he seems extremely dense as well, with his lack of coping skills. Does anyone else have a child like this?

He has been a challenge since the moment we brought him home from the hospital.

He is so affectionate and sweet though. but he will equally drive you to the brink every day!

Oct 27, 2010
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My son also . . .
by: Mom trying to figure it all out!

To Concerned Mom: My husband and I just read your comment on this site, describing your son - we could've written the same exact description as our 32 month old son!!! Their similarities are an exact match with all your descriptions. It was like I was describing him to someone!!!

He has been in Early Intervention with an OT since he was 9 months old, and started with Speech Therapy in September. His Doctor wants him checked to see if he falls in the Autism Spectrum - although we have to wait almost a year to see a Developmental Pediatrician in our area!!!! We don't feel that he has Autism, we know he is "quirky" with different situations and he we see differences with him compared to others in his age group.

It is very difficult for my Husband and I, as we feel hopeless alot of times. It is so nice to read some of these comments and know that there our other Families out there that understand what we are living everyday. It is hard to get support, alot of our family members don't understand. Thank you for posting your comment . . . .

Oct 05, 2010
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Yes!
by: Anonymous

My son was diagnosed with SPD at the age of 10. He does not have autism. We visited a psychologist that thought he could have ADD. I didn't buy it and refused to put him on medication. Instead I followed the advise of his O.T. and through all the help he has received he has come an extremely long way in a year and a half.

There is a program out there called Vital Sounds. This is a series of specially designed CD's for those with SPD. The program has to be regulated with an O.T. that has had training in this area. These special CD's are listened to twice a day for about 30 minutes each and for my son he was given a different CD every 2 weeks. As the child listens it helps with the vestibular (inner ear), core muscles, balance and coordination, the 5 senses and other things I don't remember. Each CD contains different musical notes and tones and is amazing what it can do for a child.

My son did this program the summer of 2009. When we went to see the psychologist that September he was amazed how all the symptoms of ADD resolved themselves. I'm not saying this is the best treatment for all children with Sensory issues. But, I can tell you it has done amazing things for my son. He just started Jr. High (6th grade) and he has been invited to be part of TAG (Talented And Gifted) program. He is quite smart and can tell me things and teach me things I've either learned and forgotten or never heard of before. It is amazing how much better he's doing.

We still have our moments of struggle but I just keep praying for healing from God. So far God hasn't let me or my son down.

Sep 20, 2010
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Thank you..
by: Concerned Mommy

for your encouraging words and reply. I am like you in knowing that something wasn't quite right early on. I mentioned it to his ped and he seemed to brush my concerns off as being a worried first time mom. My son seemed perfectly normal to him. My own mother, for the longest time was the same way too. (Now she is seeing what I am and agrees to seek help for him).

I've read that SPD can mimic Autism and the two are so closely related it seems from what I've read lately. You can have one and not the other. Like I said before, he really doesn't seem autistic. I've worked with autistic kids in the classroom and he doesn't act like them. (Although, I am not an expert).

I just want the best for him and to give him the best chance at a happy and normal life. That's why we started the "First Steps" Program early on.

Is there a connection between SPD and preemies? Also, what about babies who spent a significant time in the NICU?

Looks like I am the newest member of the mommy club on here. Glad to have found this site. :)

Sep 19, 2010
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Yes, SPD without Autism
by: Jessica S.

My son is now 8 & he had a traumatic pregnancy/birth. I knew something wasn't right with him but he did perform most milestones on time. His teachers & Ped. all said he was just a little slow, but the other "issues" cropped up too.

I can tell you he is not Autistic, even high-functioning. A lot of the SPD symptoms mimic the Autistic issues you may read about. There's a lot out there to help. He has been in preschool, & regular school. He is also in Occupational Therapy. We don't have him on medications (ADD or ADHD can become a 'symptom' of SPD/SID due to overwhelm issues).

You are on the right path to be researching it. You are his mom & you know in your gut what you should do...help him. You're in the right place. There's a lot more hope than some would have you believe. Good luck & stay strong.

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