SPD versus PDD?

How do professionals/diagnosticians determine whether a child has SPD or PDD?

I realize that almost all kids on the spectrum have sensory issues (i.e., a dual diagnosis is possible) and that not all kids with SPD are autistic; however, there is so much overlap in the symptoms across the two disorders.

How does one determine whether a child has both disorders or just one - and if only one, then which?

The difference(s) between classic autism and SPD seem more apparent. But children on the milder end of the spectrum - or those with PDD - seem tougher to differentiate from SPD.

Please help!

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Feb 23, 2018
Current status
by: Anonymous

I’d be interested to know the current status of some of that affected individuals listed in this post.

I have boy/girl twins who were diagnosed in may 2017. At that time we missed a golden opportunity to get them admitted into the place that diagnosed them. Instead we opted to go a more "normalized route and have them do daycare at this person’s house in conjunction of doing about 15 hours a week of ABA.

In short , it did not pan out and we are back to square one in the sense that we are in the process of getting them amid it to placement that provides ABA services .

Apr 27, 2010
PDD and feeding problems like chewing.
by: Anonymous

Hello, I have a 3 yo old son who was diagnosed with PDD and also doesn't chew. We do have ABA program with ST, OT, PT but seems like he is not progressing.

He is stock with mashed food. When we took him to special feeding program they say his tongue is too far back and we need to learn how to feed him properly. He uses defense mechanism they say.

He also doesn't hold any fruits and veggies and never puts anything in his mouth. We use Z-vibe, NUK brush, tooth brushing, nothing is helping. I need help.

If anybody has a similar problem please respond. Any ideas what else can i do please.

Oct 03, 2009
Watch "Autistic-like, Graham's Story"
by: Catherine Smith

Hi, I am the mother of 3 kids, one of whom is a 3 year old boy diagnosed firstly with PDD and a few months later with classic autism.

This question niggles at me constantly, not because I don't want to admit my child has autism but because I seriously wonder if it is just a major Sensory Processing Disorder that I am seeing.

Whatever the correct diagnoses finally emerges, our beautiful boy Sean will not have suddenly become a different person. He is who he is and whichever disorder he has is just a part of him, it does not define him.

He has always had excellent eye contact, has always been very social - even with complete strangers (albeit that they couldn't interpret his babble). He tries to interact with other children at the Preschool he has just started. He follows directions and he smiles all the time. He even displays joint attention eg. when we watch a Herbie movie and a funny part comes on he will smile/laugh and then look at us to see if we are smiling too.

We have always known he has major sensory issues with his eating - he stores food in his cheek because he is unable to chew it. When he says a few words (only single words at a time usually) he often has trouble saying the beginning sound eg. "us" for bus, "ar" for car, but he has no prob's saying the word shoe.

He loves being outside, the sandpit would be his bed if we allowed it. He loves just grabbing handfuls of sand/dirt and just throwing it or letting it slip through his fingers.

He does not seem to have any obsessions, however, he does have a lot of trouble playing properly with his toys and often prefers to just throw them up in the air. I wonder if this is an extension of the sand throwing or whether it is in fact a repetitive behaviour. He use to pinch me all the time up until a year ago. He would pinch himself too or the arms or around his knees.

I wish there was more known about the differences between these two disorders, not because I don't want it to be autism (obviously no parent would want there child to have autism) but because I want to get the precise treatment he needs.

We need to raise more awareness for Sensory Processing Disorder within the community. The Sensory Processing Disorders Foundation is having a worldwide screening of the above video documentary on October 10th and 11th, 2009. I would highly recommend everyone to get involved with this and find a screening to attend.

Jul 19, 2009
The Testing
by: Kim Sullivan

The testing and questionnaires that are used for each diagnosis is different. Normally the questions for the Autism spectrum is a psychological test and the Sensory is the OT test.

Each has similarity, but things that point to Asperger's/Autism have evaluations of the person interacting with others, interview with the psychologist, and intelligence testing. These tests point to which or what may best describe the set of symptoms.

I don't believe either diagnosis is a diagnosis like measles or something like that, but rather each diagnosis is a term for a set of symptoms occurring.

Until we can determine a true cause, there will be subjectivity and a lack of a true objective measurement.

Jul 19, 2009
Great question!
by: Anonymous

What a great question! I have wondered about this myself. I can't wait to see how others have answered this. Thanks!!!

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