Is SPD Hereditary?

I am so glad you wrote and I do have some thoughts I would like to share with you. I've been in your shoes, in a time and place where no one around me knew about SPD. And I have to reassure you, you have time still to do something about it.

Some of the issues you and Annie are struggling to live with, are unfortunately a teen thing, I am sorry to tell you. In other words, some of these behaviors you are seeing are almost par for the course, right now. She may still be angry, disrespectful and defiant, regardless of her obvious SPD symptoms, but surely, the situation is exasperated by SPD. It is in the intensity, duration and severity that will define behaviors associated with SPD as opposed to "deliberate bad behavior" .

Okay, let's roll up our sleeves and think about some strategies for the immediate relief you both need, and then long term help, okay? I want you to fill out the checklist, written by my friend Michele Mitchell: Sensory Checklist for Adults and Adolescents. You might also want to fill out the Child SPD Checklist, because of her age, she is almost in-between. Now make a list of the symptoms and behaviors that are most troubling to both of you.

When you fill out the checklists, include your daughter in this if you can, by asking her if she feels this way, based on the checklists. You aren't the only one who is confused, frustrated, hurt, lost, sad and angry. She is too. And if she sees you are trying to help her by including her in the checklist, and telling her you are going to try to make life better for can only help both of you to be on the same page.

And I say both of you, because we parents have to live with our children's SPD. It is affecting our lives and those we love, so what bothers you most, is equally important to address, as well as what bothers your daughter most. The initial list may look so overwhelming, that I want you to narrow it down to the most severe three things. Two that bother your daughter the most, and one that drives you crazy.

Now take a look the three items, and see what home strategies you can incorporate to help her and you find relief. These might include hitting and shoving. Panic over food, controlling behavior (possible symptom of feeling so out of control). A couple examples of the SPD Way to deal??

Hitting and shoving. On the surface, we are appalled, as Mom's, that they could HIT us?! I know. It's sooooo disrespectful and hurtful. It is also a symptom of SPD, in that kids and adults who feel completely out of control with their bodies, their emotions, and their thoughts, exhibit increasingly controlling and demanding behaviors in an effort to find some level of control. Hitting and shoving can also be a way for kids who are seeking proprioceptive input, and they don't know how to get it any other way. An SPD solution?

Set very clear and reasonable limits and consequences if she hits or shoves you, and offer an alternative way for her to get similar input, that would address both possible reasons she may be doing this. "When you feel like hitting or shoving me, anything or anyone, hit THIS, instead, and it will help you." She can get similar input by jumping on a mattress on the floor, or a trampoline at a friend's house. "Punch this stack of pillows, instead of a person." It may also help Annie to read "The Goodenoughs Get in Sync: 5 Family Members Overcome their Special Sensory Issues" by Carol Kranowitz. I understand financial difficulties, so might I suggest requesting this book and others through your local library?

Check out any library books you can find on SPD and begin learning home strategies to start reducing environmental sensory overload in your home. This is a start. Espom salt baths at night may make for more peaceful evenings together with your daughter. For her, it increases Magnesium levels, detoxes and calms. For you? It will soothe and calm, and you need that, too.

Once you feel you are making some progress on these first three issues, then add another to work on, then another. Take it easy, and don't overwhelm yourself. Baby steps, as you both are able.

You said she is home all the time now. Are you saying she is home schooled? Could be the best option for her, once you are both working towards a common goal. It may help her to understand her own learning styles and to realize she is uniquely abled, in learning.

As you both begin learning and utilizing strategies to help her, it will become easier to set limits on unacceptable behavior.

Next step for Annie? Finding an OT!! Since you live in Canada, you can start by going to (Just click on the "OT Finder" section in the top right corner)

 Another great place to find an OT specializing in sensory integrative therapy is the Western Psychological Services listings for Canadian SIPT certified OT's. It is very important, if there is any way possible through insurance or Medicaid, to have her evaluated and begin Sensory Integrative Occupational Therapy. Both of you will learn "tools" that will help. You'll gain knowledge of which behaviors you can help her understand and improve, and learn the strategies necessary to do that. You will also obtain documentation on how SPD is affecting your daughter, and give you credibility that this is not a parenting issue, it is a neurological disorder, characterized by these behaviors.

Now for you. It's ok to say "NO. Nope, no way, not here, can't do it, won't allow that, never going to happen in my house." There are things we cannot control, and things we can. We cannot control how other people feel, or the way they act, but we can control our own response or acceptance or refusal of how people treat us.

I'd like you to consider taking more control of your own life, and as much as possible, so you can truly begin helping her. By this I mean mentally deciding what you reasonably can have control over and what you can't. By helping the girl inside you, who is sad, and lonely and hurt too. Do you have to take these medications to cope right now? Yes, if you need them you do. But I tell you truly, the more you work on nurturing and helping yourself, the less you will need them. And also, the more you can work on OT strategies and showing your daughter ways to help herself feel better, the less you will need them. I ask you to believe in one thing, in order to survive and want to survive:

Can you allow yourself to believe there is just the possibility that your daughter can get better, and so can you? Just the tiniest crack of hope? Because whether you know it right now, at this moment or not, there truly is that hope. She can. So can you. I know how you are feeling.

I know you are empty, and probably crying right now as you read this. I would hug you if I were there. {{Hug}} And tell you everything is going to be all right, now. Because you truly are feeling empty, you can now choose to begin filling in, what is your life, with the smallest glimmer of hope, and possibility. And this time, you will fill that dark hole of despair, with promise, and only what you will allow. What you want to allow. You have suffered so much, and lost so much. It is time to heal. It is time to allow all the pain to have it's place, yes, but to allow life and hope to bring you back.

Can you decide to choose life? I think you are ready, because you have reached out. I think you are ready because you love your daughter so much. I think you are ready to help yourself, now.

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Related Resources and Further Reading

Sensory Processing Disorder Checklist - comprehensive SPD Checklist; signs and symptoms of tactile, auditory, olfactory and oral defensiveness, as well as proprioceptive and vestibular dysfunction.

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