Symptoms seem contradictory

by Bonnie
(Georgia)

So I have been researching this as well as being highly sensitive for about a year now and still am not sure what is going on with my child. I know he is Highly Sensitive as described my Elaine Aron in The Hightly Sensitive Child. And as is common with that he does have symptoms of SPD as well but they are in several different categories.


For example, he is super sensitive to temperatures outside and water temps as well as super sensitive to smells, food textures, and lights but yet seems to never get dizzy. He hears things that no one else hears suggesting hypersensitivity and yet is often loud and plays very loudly. He loves to be active and yet can sit and watch tv or play with small toys for extremely long periods of time. He is emotionally sensitive across the board and has difficulty with new people and places in which I am not present and yet when at a playground seeks to play with total strangers and is bored if there is no one to play with or if no one will play with him.

Does anyone have this same thing going on or know what I should do? I have spoken to his pediatrician some but have not really gotten much info from her. Sorry this is so long! Thanks for letting me explain.

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Jan 22, 2010
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Some insights
by: Corinne

Hi, your son may be sensitive to smell and temperature but doesn't get dizzy because his sense of touch is sensitive but his sense of vestibular balance(found in ear) is under developed.

Though he's sensitive to some sounds, he speaks loudly because the frequencies, decibels, hertz of these sounds belong to a different range as compared to his own voice. Apart from the vestibular system, it's the auditory processing system at play here. He may be highly sensitive to some sounds and extremely desensitive to other sounds (like his own) etc.

He's craves for action because he needs the propriceptive input which calms him down. When he's calm, he is then able to watch TV or settles down to play with toys.

He insecure when you are not around because of his underdeveloped vestibular system which causes him to be uncertain of his spatial awareness. If you are around he's emotionally secure, knowing full well that you will be his anchor even if he's unsure of his surroundings. So when you are there for him, he'll feel safe to seek social interaction.

I'm no expert here but I've got a son exactly like yours.He's been diagnosed with SPD and I've been reading and getting more knowledgeable as I journey with son. God bless


Jan 15, 2010
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Thanks and a little more info
by: Bonnie

First let me say thanks to everyone who responded so far. I greatly appreciate your thoughts and suggestions.

Second I realized after re-reading my first post that I left out a couple things. First my son is almost 4 years old and originally I decided to wait till he went to school to have him evaluated for OT we would probably see more issues come up then. But I keep thinking maybe we should go ahead now. The thing is is that it really doesn't disrupt our daily lives like I would think it needed to in order to be SPD. I have read Sensational Kids by Lucy Miller and The Out of Sync Child and both authors say that it usually disrupts daily life. I just know the things that are going to bother him like water temps or sounds and we just don't do those things that way. We have to prep him for things that are out of the usual like doctors appointments or me being gone for a few hours, etc but otherwise we just run along like normal.

His food textures I just don't make him eat and his intense emotions we work through as they come up and then after when he is calm. (Not to imply that we have that area under control because we definitely do not.) There are of course other things but this is one of the main reasons we have waited. I am going to ask though at the school he receives speech (he has a speech delay)from about getting an OT eval and if the therapist is certified in sensory issues. Thanks for letting me add to it.

Jan 15, 2010
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Three reactions
by: Anonymous

Hi Bonnie,

I have a twelve year old daughter that was diagnosed with sensory integration disorder (now SPD) several years ago. The first several years of her life I knew something was wrong, she was highly overreactive to water(screamed when we washed her hair) overreactive to sound, to light, under reactive to taste. She was also under reactive to movement... she could spin on a tire swing to the cows came home and never get sick. She was highly overemotional and would seek out strangers to play with at playgrounds....but she became more reserved in later years playing with her own friends.

I too talked to everyone I could about this...very frustrating as my doctor, my parents and friends all thought that I was overreacting myself. When she was about 6 her teachers came to me and told me they thought maybe she had an issue...and referred me to a couple of people I could talk to. I wanted to scream at them...I Knew I wan't crazy and why didn't you say something earlier??? I did seek out OT for her which helped immensely.... but we are still dealing with issues to this day that manifest themselves in the form of lack of organization and she still show signs of hypersensitivity (defensiveness...which can come across as paranoid at times...of course she is only twleve and hormones are kicking in so it is hard to tell what is what right now, lol) The defensiveness we are dealing with in a matter of showing her that her surroundings have never changed and there is nothing to fear, and we constantly change things up so that she learns to transition...this is a piece of advice I give to you because if you don't do this, your child will always be afraid to try something different, and become too comfortable in his or her surroundings ... and I think it is the only way to get them through this disorder successfully. It is hard, and takes time and a lot of coercion, but it is worth it in the long run...

my kids eat better than most of their friends and are willing to try things that most normal kids won't try. They will travel well, they have great manners and MOST of the time I can get them to look everyone in the eye when they speak. Lol. It is time consuming...

School is where I have my biggest issue, and it is truly all organizational... so get the school to help you. I think they will
If you want any other input I would be glad to talk to you more. Let me know

Let me just say that many of these symptoms are contradictory, because they can manifest themselves in three ways... over reactive, under reactive or both. Experience shows me from dealing with my daughter that she fall into the BOTH category, which is the most difficult one to deal with, because you never know what your going to get next.

Jan 07, 2010
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Recommend and OT Eval
by: Anonymous

If your insurance will cover it, I would recommend getting a full OT eval done by an OT certified in sensory integration. It should shed a lot of light. I recently had one done and it took 2 1/2 hours. She looked at everything and it was extremely helpful. Now knowing better what is going on, we are better focused on what to treat. Depending on how old your child is, Early Intervention may have an OT with SI experience that can do a quick check with at least the Sensory Profile for parents. Sometimes it is just having the right specialist do the evaluation. Our pediatrician suspected autism before we had the OT eval (we also did a full developmental eval to cover all bases...but our insurance paid for all of it). Good luck.

Jan 07, 2010
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more research
by: Anonymous

hello bonnie I read your post, and I can tell you to find the same and other symptoms in my children as well as a very serious problem with food, I add that I live in Europe where the SPD is generally little-known and there is no therapy. these children are sent to a psychologist, who obviously can not give any help because it's not a problem psicologic.so this Site is the only way to explain the symptoms and support to parents. You who live in the U.S.A your voice can be heard to call medical attention because there is more commitment in research to help children with sensory processing disorder.a advice you to seek help through therapy.

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