Autism and SPD?!?! and Schools

by Courtney
(Rogersville, TN USA )

Okay here is my question/concern. The school system that my 16 month old daughter will be transitioning into and our state does not recognize SPD as a diagnosis. They told me that she will be diagnosed as having autism instead.

I also have had several doctors mention the diagnosis of autism to me as well. I have just been beyond frustrated. I looked at the DSM-IV and there was no real answer especially in a child this age of what autism is and how the autistic child acts. There are very few resources in my area, and I have no one to talk to, and no resources AT ALL.

The pediatrician suggested high functioning autism when my daughter started banging her head and has continued to do so from about age 6 months to the present.

I don't know what to do or if she can even be diagnosed at this age. She has the SPD diagnosis by a therapy center in Knoxville, TN. Therapy isn't making a significant difference so I wonder if the diagnosis is wrong, or they are not doing something right, or maybe I'm not...?!?! I don't know what is going on...

I hope someone has an answer.


I am going to direct you to some resources below that should help answer your questions. However, before I do that, I have a few questions for YOU. I wonder if you can answer these for me so I make sure I am directing you to the right places. And, by answering these questions, these are the suggestions I would have for you... what I want you to check out, ok?

My first question... you say she is receiving therapy. Is it Occupational Therapy? Early intervention including any other disciplines? Speech Therapy? Is anyone who is treating her familiar with SPD? Are they using any sensory integrative techniques? They can work well for kids with Autism as well (whether or not they have SPD). I would like to know more about the therapy she is currently receiving and for how long it has been going on. Then I can give you further input about this, ok?

Also, as far as the school is concerned? If she carries the diagnosis of SPD, they can't say they don't "accept

it"... it is a diagnosis. If they mean they won't treat her specifically for SPD, that is another issue. I am concerned about their approach and what they are saying. I want you to make sure you get the services you need. So, here is a resource for that...

SPD In The Schools; Getting The Services You Need (make sure to click on the links in this newsletter as they should be very helpful).

Your daughter is young, but obviously has some serious issues going on for which she needs help. I want to help you get these resources. Although I can't diagnose her via the internet, I am hoping I can guide you to the places you need to go for more information. I am concerned, especially with the head banging!! Can you read through the following resources, and join the support group I suggest below, answer my above questions and get back to me? I will need further information to help more, ok?

First, start talking to other parents with SPD and Autistic children in the AllAboutKids online support group!

Then read...

Autism And Sensory Integration (the first couple paragraphs mostly). I will be writing more on this soon, sorry I haven't finished it yet.

Autism Symptoms, Treatments, Testing, and DSM-IV Criteria For Diagnosis.

How Early Can Autism Be Diagnosed.

Autism Can Be Detected at 14 Months, Research Shows.

Interesting note in this article...
The development of tools for earlier diagnosis of autism is moving quickly. (1998 article, but interesting). It says...

"A Catch-22?

If researchers develop behavioral tools for screening and diagnosing children with autism at age 2 and younger—and most researchers believe they’re close—they will face a seeming paradox. How can they prove their early diagnosis was right if the children they diagnose at 18 months enter into interventions that help treat their dysfunction?

'It’s a huge problem,' says Stone. 'You don’t know if you were wrong at age 2 or whether the intervention worked so well that your diagnosis is no longer valid.'"

Know that YOU are not doing anything wrong!! You are doing everything right by seeking help, diagnoses, services, and looking for answers! Your daughter is very lucky to have YOU as her mom! Let's see what we can do from here, ok?

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