SPD in adults - what can be done to help? Is it too late??

by scared mom
(upstate central NY)

My daughter is 20. I wish I had known all of this 20 years ago. She was a preemie (34 weeks - 4 lb.2oz). She struggled through school and was diagnosed in special education with a "processing disorder". She was given academic accommodations to help her. She graduated and went to college, but came home after a 3 semesters. She couldn't decide what she really wanted to do - she's never been able to make a decision for herself.

Socially, though, she has suffered the most. She is doesn't get social cues, she doesn't relate to her peers, she doesn't make eye contact and she isn't accepted well by others her age. In the past she has done things to "fit in" that she shouldn't have - she became sexually active for that reason and was not emotionally ready nor did she know how to handle it socially - it became a social disaster.

In addition to all of the social issues she is often easily disoriented and gets lost in the extremely small village we have lived in her whole life. She has difficulty following directions and often cannot remember much of what she's been told - or maybe she doesn't understand. It's sometimes hard to distinguish. She doesn't share her emotions or feelings, but sometimes explodes with anger because we don't understand what she's feeling.

She does one other thing that I've observed through her life that has seemed odd - it's a soothing thing for her - she'll gently stroke her arm or leg repeatedly - very lightly. She gets almost mesmerized while she does it. We (her dad and I) don't know how to help her - we asked for help for years through the school - and they always said she was the way she was and that's all there is to be done. Maybe it is. But she can't live on her own this way. We are very concerned. Please send us in the right direction. We live in central NY state. THANK YOU!!!

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Jul 29, 2014
Possible aspergers
by: Anonymous

I am around 40. What you wrote describes me, was put in spec ed in first grade due to vision tracking problems. Saw a psych apparently due to not being able to make friends, socially awkward, can pass hearing tests no problem, but can't pick voice out of background, hearing dr called it auditory processing disorder, have left places and won't go places with some people due to gum chewing. Quit a job due to techno music, extremely irritating,

Took a few online aspergers tests, results giving me over 90% probability of having it. Look up aspie test, found while trying to find the date of a car show benefiting autism speaks, people have asked me in the past if I had aspergers, at the time I thought you had to be like rain man.
After seeing my score, I looked into it, the more I looked the more everything fit, it was fairly unknown until the 90's.

High iq, poor listening skills, apd, mesophonia, probable sensory perception disorder, am still looking into that, chronic pain with no diagnosis, hypo and hyper sensitivity, chronic pain being the hyper sensitivity part. The hypo sensitivity part often amazes people. Cut a finger to the bone, cleaned it out taped it up and went back to what I was doing, holding hot things, I don't like burns, usually like having crazy glue on fingers, annoying, I try to be careful, a hot coal may feel like an ice cube or vice versa initially. By the time I distinguish extreme hot and cold it is usually too late, a doctor told me I was taking my showers too hot, I keep my water heater on the lowest setting due to this,

Run on writing, topic drifting, affects conversations too, poor short term memory, remembering in images. Face blindness, probably due to avoiding eye contact, even with a conscious effort I still drift.

Wrong planet may be a good site to look into, autistics, aspies, and aspie like people, can give tips, their methods, or write about other stuff hobbies, news, etc. my childhood was hell at times, and same as an adult, people sometimes think you are intoxicated. Weird, child like, etc.

Jul 11, 2014
Is this something that can settle in at an older age?
by: Jim

I am 40. Over the past couple of years, I have found my self being more sensitive to high pitched sounds, unable to focus on simple or complex tasks, fidgety, unable to focus at work, easily irritated. I can't stop moving my legs, I don't like cuddling anymore. I am tired all of the time, and never feel rested.

I was remarried a couple of years ago. I didn't have kids with my first wife. My second wife has a 12 year old. We have multiple pets that don't get along some of the time. My wife has multiple health problems.

I feel like I am under constant stress. When I am home, the TV is on constantly, even when I go to bed. I don't watch what is on normally. I stay on my ipad most of the time. When I go to work, I am trying to think or focus on things, but i am easily distracted and find it difficult to accomplish anything. I haven't had a vacation in 12 years, and don't see me going on vacation anytime soon.

Am I burned out or is this SPD?

Feb 26, 2012
some resources to help
by: Rosanne


I was fortunate enough to find out about spd when my son was 10years old. He had to take speech and language therapy, physio therapy, occupational therapy, had a personal fm system for his central auditory processing disorder. He is living proof that therapy and home support can do wonders. He too was withdrawn, could not make eye contact, did not socialize well, etc. We always put him in challenging situations and supported him through it. It takes a great deal of support from the parents and an effort on the part of the child to make it work. He struggled in the early years of elementary school but is now heading to university for mechanical engineering.

My daughter then showed signs of spd. She had visual processing challenges and was hyposensitive(bounced off the walls) and with vision therapy is now an honor student in high school. These children can be successful and it is never to late. They still have some awkwardness but no more than any other teenager.

Some of the symptoms your daughter has could be central auditory processing disorder in addition to other sensory issues. An audiologist who can assess for this(not all can so you have to go to one who specializes in this. Just search CAPD audiologist in your city. There are some therapies that can be done with this. Also speech and language is a huge therapy. This did wonders for my son including addressing eye contact issues. There is hope, just start getting some assessments and therapy done. My son had a floppy body, poor balance so we had physio therapy and occupational therapy for tactile issues.

I hope this helps.
take care

Feb 16, 2012
by: Anonymous

Hi there,

Its a long shot, but have you done any reading on Dispraxia? You may see some similarities. People with dispraxia commonly have SPD as well.

Occupational therapy (OT) might help – even at this stage in her life. I have a daughter who has recently undergone a battery of tests by a psychologist and she indicated that she most likely has Dispraxia (further testing is required for a more definite diagnosis) along with a processing disorder, but she did recommend OT as being beneficial to her.

Hope this helps.

Best of luck.

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