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 Quite often, they go into “flight” and become anxious or withdrawn.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!
Join the Facebook page to urge Oprah to do a show on Sensory Processing Disorder. Pass it around–tweet it, put it up as your Facebook status, ask your friends to “like” the page. 1 in 20 children are affected–when will we get some mass media coverage???!
While sensory kids can benefit from wearing a heavy backpack because of the deep pressure input (also known as proprioceptive input) it provides, and certainly proprioceptive input needs to be part of a sensory diet at school, a too-heavy backpack is a problem. Because our kids often have organizational issues, they can end up overloading their backpacks with items they don’t need, causing muscle strain. AOTA, the American Occupational Therapy Association, offers these tips for National Backpack Awareness Day: TIPS.
Keep in mind that a rolling backpack may be your best option.
Backpacks and ruckpacks rule: No more than 15 percent of body weight
Filed under backpacks, heavy work, organizational issues, Practical tips for sensory issues, proprioceptive input, schools, sensory diet, sensory diet at school, sensory integration dysfunction, sensory processing disorder, sensory processing disorder in the news
This study on children with autism showed that their sensory processing is slower and they take longer to manage and sort through multisensory stimulation. I believe that as we learn more about the brain and its functioning, we’ll better understand sensory processing disorder.
Does your child with SPD have difficulty with background noise and distractions? Does she hyperfocus to get away from stimuli?
Here is another wonderful news piece on SPD, this one featuring mom Hartley Steiner, author of This is Gabriel Making Sense of School. I am hoping that the more coverage we get on sensory processing disorder, the sooner these kids will get the help they need! Apparently, the legitimacy of being considered for inclusion in the DSM-V which identifies (and provides diagnosis codes for) psychological diagnoses has finally caused SPD to grab the attention of the media. About time! 🙂
I love her description of OT for sensory issues as “the difference between my family functioning or not functioning”! We are NOT talking about mild sensory preferences or sensitivities but full-fledged sensory processing disorder where sensory issues interfere with activities of daily living and require intervention.