Sensory Processing Disorder or just very Anxious?

Hello... I am 17 years old and I am in my second year of college. I am not quite too sure if this is just something that is part of my Dyspraxia/visual stress problems.

I have always had certain ‘quirks’ which (partly due to the stress of taking Alevels) seem to have become ‘problems’. These ‘problems’ do not seem to quite fit with my diagnosis of Dyspraxia/visual stress difficulties.

My family have also become very annoyed with my behavior. I find noisy environments and certain noises such as dog barking, Vacuum cleaner, microwave…etc very overwhelming.

Even though I do have my own self strategies to push myself through, after going to social gatherings and college I always seem to feel very ill and tired- I feel I need somewhere quiet to calm down. It’s a bit like someone has opened too many internet tabs on a computer -I shut down.

It is often very difficult to find a place to be quiet. If I don’t find a quiet place I suffer from Nervous exhaustion.

My agitation of noises is not something new. When I was a toddler at playgroup, I would often either fall asleep or become difficult and want to go home. When I started school, I would often go home and have frequent tantrums for no reason.

Keeping control of my noise sensitivity is not helped by how I am overly emotional, and I tend to become fixated/obsessed with things. I get very socially stressed, and as well as the noise, I find masking the fact that I don’t understanding what people intentions are (e.g. I have never understood facial expressions and do not use emojis when texting expect the simplistic ones). very draining.

I find I put more effort into concentrating on daily tasks . I am more effective if I fidgets with something or randomly look at something on the internet/take a visual break.

At college I will often shake my leg, at home I jump up and down/rock. When I was younger I use to be (until it got broken) very obsessed with my trampoline and at the playground I would spend hours on the swings. It as if I lose feelings of things-I have often had terrible blisters and did not realised

until I take my sock off.

I seem to fall over and not feel any pain or feel it later. I seem to also frequently drop things/misplace things and I can be quite careless and clumsy as I put too much pressure on things e.g. I unintentionally slam doors and I am a noisy messy eater.

My disorganisation, carelessness and clumsiness are not helped by the fact that objects seem to split into two, and I struggle to locate things (it’s as if I don’t notice clutter!).

In a similar way to how I seem to lose feeling of things, it takes me ages to get out of bed and get ready for college. Though ironically, I have a difficult time settling down and getting ready to for bed.

I do not know how hot or cold something is. Alike to how I have a confused feeling of pain I also do know if I feel hungry and I have tendency to overeat. However when I was younger (Now I seem to be less sensitive) I was very sensitive to certain textures. My Mum commented that as soon as I was dressed, and we were ready to go to preschool I would take off all my clothes again.

I hated having my hair tied up/wearing hair clips/being brushed or washed. I did not like wearing jewelry or tights and preferred trousers. I would also get my Mum to cut out labels in my clothes.

I am not too sure if I have Sensory processing disorder/ Asperger, if I have sensory issues as part of my Dyspraxia or if this is something else as recently I keep hearing ringing in my ears and I have never had a issue with oral input/smells. I am not too sure if these issues will improve as around the ages of 9/10, when I started secondary school some of these ‘problems’ became ‘quirks’.

My difficulties with coordination/visual stress/concentration/spatial awareness, and social situations were still ‘problems’. I would occasionally find noisy environments overwhelming and in noisy situations I would frequently ‘freeze’/zone out and I still found temperature/pain confusing .

Though overall the sensory part of my ‘quirks’ were not so much of a ‘problem’ until the end of year 11 and when I started college.

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Apr 09, 2021
dyspraxia? SPD!
by: Anonymous

Dyspraxia is actually a sub-type of SPD so that makes sense. Never doubt yourself if you know that this is something you are struggling with. See an occupational therapist if you want to.

Feb 12, 2018
I'm in the Same Boat
by: Anonymous

I am in the same year as you and was diagnosed
with SPD and ADHD when I was 6 years old.

Initially, I was tested for Asperger's but it
turned out I had the above problems instead.

You should definitely see an Occupational
Therapist to get a professional opionion!

I know how hard it can be to deal with sensory
issues so I'm making a list of ways I cope.
(hopefully it will help!)

- Sounds: Personally, I like to use earbuds when
at school and play soothing music to help block
out any annoying sounds. Sometimes, I get
overwhelmed by voices which is more difficult to
deal with as you can't just ask your teacher to
quiet down. I usually just try to take deep
breaths and fight though it, but if you can't do
this then leaving the class to calm down is another

I also have a friend who was given permission
by her school to use ear plugs during tests. If you
find yourself not being able to concentrate
during exams you should definitely look into this!

- For social/emotional interactions: It's super
helpful to stop and think before you talk
to/interact with someone. It's really easy for
me to misunderstand emotions/social cues if I
don't do this.

It's also important to make your friends/family
aware of your situation. My parents will often
privately pull me aside and tell me if they
notice me saying something that could be
interrupted as offensive or insensitive.

- I also use too little/too much pressure when
handling things. Sometimes I even forget I'm
holding something and will drop it. I try to
focus on an object if it's in my hands to
avoid dropping it and try to figure
out the amount of pressure needed and
memorize how it feels. This one's pretty hard to
get over, so I think the most helpful thing you
can do is learn to laugh it off rather than
getting frustrated/mad at yourself. It's not
your fault!!

- Settling down for bed: Calming music often
helps, preferably without lyrics.

Telling yourself a story in your head can help
you become less aware of your senses which is
useful for some people.

- Clothes: I've either had to grow accustomed to
certain textures/feelings over the years or
find alternatives that work for me. (ex.
jeggings instead of skinny jeans, buying t-
shirts one size up)

I hope that helped at least a little bit!
Good luck :)

Feb 07, 2018
True Sensory Person
by: Anonymous

I am not an occupational therapist but as a mother of a sensory girl, I can tell you definitely have sensory processing disorder. It is not too late to get the help you need.

The good news is that programs and therapies available out there these days such as listening therapy, interactive metronome. Get evaluated by an occupational therapist who knows SPD and you can get "sensory diet."

Good luck!!! I almost cried because I was imagining my 7 year old DD writing like this when she gets older.

Jan 13, 2018
Thank you
by: Anonymous

I just wanted to say thank your for commenting.
Reading your post was very reassuring.

Jan 10, 2018
by: Anonymous

Absolutely love you and had to respond,my, how amazing you are!so much promise and gifts you have to share, you will continue to grow and blossom!

My loved one faces challenges also, and has blossomed by accepting,embracing,sharing and overcoming with like minded,unique and humorous souls.

The world is full of love and it starts with
YOU! Good Luck.

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