What Is Your Advice? Is This SPD?

Hi, I have just finished reading "The Out Of Sync Child". I have an 8 year old who has been diagnosed as having ADD. The medication (Concerta) does seem to help with her focus at school, but I don't feel that this is the only thing that is going on. She is a very smart girl. As an infant she reached her milestones early. She sat at 2 1/2 months, was crawling by 4 1/2 months, cruised at 6 or 7 months.

She was potty trained at 2 but then at 3 was back in diapers because she refused to use the toilet. At 7 years old she was still having accidents.

She moves at a slow pace and there is no hurrying her.

She seems to have difficulty making eye contact, loud noises hurt her ears, she says she doesn't like the way rice or peas feel. She never liked finger paint. She seems to need routine. She used both hands for coloring and eating until preschool. She has a hard time speaking sometimes; it takes her a long time to figure out what she's trying to say. She has had a speech assessment and it was normal, except for the amount of time it takes her to speak. She is on her 2nd set of tubes and her hearing wasn't equal during her last hearing test. One night she had a tantrum because a light was shinning in her room onto her wall, but she likes to have the light on her alarm clock turned on.

I'm not sure what to do with her. I have had her referred to a developmental clinic, we are still waiting to hear about an appointment for there. I feel like everything I've read doesn't quite describe her. Nothing seems to talk about a child who is "unhurried".

I am looking for some advice on what the reason for this might be and how to help her. Also, my mother and I both seem to have quite a few of the symptoms described in this book. For example, I have never liked the texture of juice with pulp, mashed potatoes or kidney beans. I often gaged on my food because of the texture. I hate if my clothes don't sit just right on me and I can't handle turtlenecks. Some nights everything bothers me, every sound, everything that touches me, my hair and even my skin bothers me. I have to get out of bed and do something for a while. I seem to have acquired some of my mother's sensitivities, like people chewing and repetitive noises bother us. And, I can't handle having the tv and the radio going at once.

The SPD Help Line Answers...

I am glad your daughter is going to see a developmental specialist. This can rule out (or diagnose) any multitude of issues. But, I do indeed see many signs of SPD! So, you will need to make sure the developmental specialist she is going to

can either diagnose SPD (most don't), or that he/she will be willing to give you a referral to an Occupational Therapist who is experienced in sensory integration theory, assessment and practice. I would definitely fill out the SPD Checklist and bring it to both appointments (the developmental specialist and the OT). If the developmental specialist doesn't "believe in" or "acknowledge" SPD, don't be concerned (some don't know enough about it yet)... still, get a referral to an OT, UNLESS they can definitively diagnose your daughter with something that explains all you are seeing, to the point where you feel the answer has come.

For tips on finding a good OT, please read: Finding An Occupational Therapist For SPD and Sensory Integrative OT... What You Need To Know Before Starting.

Now, about you and your mom? It is VERY common to have SPD run throughout a family!! We are seeing this more and more as people become more aware of SPD. So, that is not surprising, at all!

Between mom, you and your daughter, you may want to do some research into tactile defensiveness, oral defensiveness and auditory processing disorder (or at least auditory processing, not necessarily disordered). Also, not wanting to be "hurried" and almost moving slow and unmotivated can indeed also be a sign of SPD. These kids thrive on predictability and routines. She also may find certain tasks difficult (motorically), therefore not motivated to do them. Additionally, if she is having regulation issues, she may find it difficult to transition between activities or even move from sleep to wake cycles without "distress"... is she hard to get going in the morning?

Also, if you read my newsletter on Potty Training and SPD, it may help you understand how her body may not be "feeling" what it needs to, thus the difficulty with having accidents. This is not surprising from a sensory processing perspective.

From an SPD lens... this all seems to make sense to me, so I would REALLY encourage an OT evaluation! I think you are on the right track asking the questions and pursuing a specialist to help. She may indeed have ADD and the medicine will help with some things, but as you said, there may be more going on... processing issues. She may be "slow" in her processing and sensitive to sensory stimuli, thus causing her difficulty. If you feel her issues are significantly impacting her daily life, an evaluation is needed.

Last, I would encourage you to join the online support group AllAboutKids; with over 1200 members, it is a wonderful place to learn more and find support!!! Another resource you may find invaluable, given your daughter's particular issues is The Mislabeled Child. I HIGHLY recommend this particular book in your case!

I hope this helps. Let us know if you need more information or what you find out at the specialists. Keep us posted... I want to make sure you get the help you and your daughter need.

Take good care.
Michele Mitchell

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