SPD is most definitely real. My son,Caleb,struggles with it everyday. Water at bath time. Butter popcorn at the movies. Haircuts...the list goes on and on. Caleb is hypersensitive so he has outbursts and crying fits whenever he experiences any of the above, especially water. He screams "OUCH!" over and over when bathing, cleaning his hands, or wiping his face. Sometimes I just cry in anticipation of the worse because I have to bathe him anyway.
I take Caleb to OT and speech therapy twice per week and I truly believe his therapists have made great strides to help him cope with his sensory issues. They begin by brushing him and giving him a deep pressure massage before continuing with water activities. Today he stepped(barefoot)on a few drops of water on the floor and it set him off. They placed him on a bean bag chair in a swing and rocked him til he calmed down while providing deep pressure compressions to his joints. I know how and what to do for him thanks to his therapists. They take the time to explain to me what they tried and what his reaction was to it.
When Caleb turns 3 in 2 months, he will be sent for an evaluation from a psychologist. His neurologist says the diagnosis is ASD, SPD, coordination disorder, speech/ dev. delay. He is not on any medicine as of yet and I don't know if he will start once he is 3. I'm struggling each day to cope with this illness that my son has(SPD). But I imagine it must be 10 times worse for him. :(