by Kat

Hi there- My 3 1/2 year old son has SPD and does some things that seem autistic though none of the therapists would ever give him a diagnosis of autism (he has been to MANY!) Do kids with SPD tend to get fixated on some things? Like today my son brought home his little place mat from school because school is over and he just wanted to stare at it and wring his hands and shake his legs. The hand wringing and leg shaking is not new, he tends to do that when he has to sit still for long or if there is a lot of noise and activity happening in a room, but he does not usually do it when just staring at an object. I was just wondering if anybody elses kids ever do this? I put the place mat away and I think it is out of his mind now, but I just don't know what to think when he does things like that. Thanks so much for any help!


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Sep 13, 2011
You should probably look for a re-diagnosis
by: Hoshiko

Stimming in itself isn't something that is 'autistic like'; stimming such as hand flapping or tiptoe walking is a result of the *SPD* in the first place, which almost always coincides with autism, and is perfectly normal in non-autistic kids with SPD. They are a normal way of dealing with stress and stimulating themselves in ways they find enjoyable or calming.

However, stimming behaviours like becoming fixated on blank objects, like your son is doing, isn't really that normal, and sounds pretty autistic. Especially if your son exhibits other behaviours you feel are need for concern, you need to press for a re-evaluation. Nowdays an increasing amount of kids diagnosed with SPD will also go on to later be diagnosed with disorders like autism or ADD. I'm one of them. Trust your instincts; if you believe something more than SPD is going on, then pursue a re-evaluation.

May 27, 2011
by: Anonymous

Greetings-consider that school has been a consistent source for sensory input this year. Perhaps his fixation is about remembering what he experienced during the school year. It could be a really positive thing. If you haven't created a visual schedule for him at home, maybe this would be a good time. You could work in "mat time" in his schedule, and even get a cheapo timer for him to use as a self regulation tool. My grandson, who is very bright, needs LOTS of planning throughout the day for him to make sense of his world and sensory needs--the visual schedule is a source of consistency that he can count on. Perhaps the mat and a visual schedule will be helpful for your little guy AND you.

Best of luck!

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