Please join the campaign the SPD Foundation has begun to urge Oprah in this, her last season, to devote a show to sensory processing disorder, a condition that affects 1 in 10 children: HOW TO WRITE TO OPRAH.
Her recent show on a boy with multiple issues including SPD probably left many with some false impressions about sensory processing disorder which I’d like to clear up here:
SPD is not treatable with medications. There are NO pharmaceutical drugs that treat sensory issues. The gold standard of treatment for SPD is occupational therapy by a sensory smart occupational therapist combined with home follow through. Adjunct therapies can help reduce anxiety and stress that go along with SPD.
SPD causes anxiety and stress responses such as anger but kids with SPD are not necessarily violent toward others. Abnormal sensory processing can cause a child to go into a fight-or-flight panic response to everyday sensations that the rest of us take for granted. Quite often, they go into “flight” and become anxious or withdrawn. Other times, they go into “fight” and fearfully lash out in order to protect themselves from the danger they perceive. They may actually harm themselves when in a “fight” condition. At the same time, what LOOKS like violence may simply be sensory seeking. We’ve seen our kids hit objects or people thinking they’re simply starting a gentle game of tag, or bite or lick a person or object to alleviate their oral sensory needs–no anger involved.
Sensory Processing Disorder can appear with other conditions or on its own. It’s very common to have SPD and ADHD, or SPD and autism, or sensory processing issues and developmental delays or learning disabilities. A child may have sensory processing disorder and food intolerances, or mental illnesses, or emotional maturity…the list goes on. However, a person can have sensory processing disorder and no other diagnosed conditions.
Please help us educate the masses about sensory processing disorder. It only takes a few minutes to write to Oprah and her producers and request a show devoted to sensory issues!