7 year old daughter--this might finally explain things
I am a teacher and have taken classes in special needs, but have never been able to "figure out" my 7 year old daughter. I took her to be evaluated at 3, concerned that she didn't speak clearly and was very distractible. The OT suggested I have her hearing tested, it turned out she had fluid in her middle ears (though had never had ear infections), she got tubes, and we hoped that was the solution. Her hearing improved, but her distractibility didn't. She does well in school, and we've been able to get her services with an OT for fine motor delay, but the verdict is always that, though there's a delay, she still falls in the low end of normal (though she's high in all other areas), so it isn't a "real problem." Reading this list was like reading a description of her!
She's a charming girl, very snuggly and affectionate, all her teachers love her and she works hard. But she seems to be hyposensitive to a lot of things, and can appear to be very spacey--I think other parents on here will know what I mean! She will walk around with food on her face after a meal seeming to not even feel it, she bumps into things a lot, if she says her stomach hurts she can't tell if it's nausea or cramps or if she has to go to the bathroom, she's unsure of her balance, very cautious walking down stairs or ramps, and she seems to "forget" she's left-handed, picking things up with her right and then having to switch. We have to use reminders for her, like, "People are not furniture," because she will just walk up and jump on people's laps (which can hurt if you're not expecting it,
and be dangerous if you're drinking coffee!) and, "Think about your face," to prompt her when she's got food around her mouth or a runny nose.
I've never seen anything that seemed to link it all together until now, and have just been addressing behaviors. One strategy that seems to help is to get her to process information in more than one way. If I give her multi-step directions, I'll tell her to close her eyes and make a picture in her mind of doing each thing as I say it, and even have her make movements to mimic the action. This improves her retention greatly, I've found. Her handwriting is slow and can be almost illegible, so her OT introduced a program that involves writing a letter on a chalkboard while telling a story about how it's written, having her erase it with a small sponge, then trace it with a wet finger, blow it dry in the same shape, and write it herself with her eyes closed. We spend 10 minutes doing a letter/number or two a day and it has definitely improved her handwriting in the 2 months she's done it, especially reversals. Another writing exercise we do is posted at www.peabody.vanderbilt.edu/casl.xml, a handwriting program designed to help with legibility and writing speed.
I actually found this site after a friend's child was diagnosed with SPD. I had never heard of it and was looking for information--I was amazed to find an answer to my own questions! Thank you for putting so much information together in one place. And, as a teacher, I would just add to other parents, please be ready to explain SPD to your child's teachers--I graduated just a few years ago from an excellent teaching college, and still had never heard of this.