I had to look up what Sensory Processing Disorder really is after our last visit to the paediatrician.

Any diagnosis for not so little Miss

If you’ve read some of my earlier posts, you may have read that 6 months, or just over, we went on a first visit to a paediatrician for my daughter. There were a few things we wanted to go over, habits, behaviours, etc, which potentially could lead to ADHD or ASD.

Now, while at that first meeting she did say that not so little Miss did show Autism traits, or it could be ADHD. There were reports that were supposed to go to school etc. Anyhow, fast forward to last week and we did our second visit.

So, we went along and again had the conversation. Now, our daughter does good at school, being one of the top pupils in her class. She gets on well and only has these traits. Girls mask ASD well; I’ve read that and the paediatrician confirmed this in our conversation – well she said it first and I said I had read that.

What it all came down to is this. For ASD, as she is at the moment it’s difficult to say if she only has traits or if it’s more. If it’s is more than just traits then we may not know until she is in the big school and a teenager. So no diagnosis on that. What we were also told is that, some of the issues she as could be down to Sensory Processing Disorder – something little Mr could potentially have along with his ASD.

What we thought Sensory Processing Disorder was

We thought before we took some time to research, that sensory issues would have been things such as smells, touch and so on. Things that would have caused discomfort. Though the one thing we have learnt on our journey through ASD is that you may have an idea of what you think something is, but, its time to go and research to find out what it really is before you know that you know what something is – if that makes sense.

The first thing we found was a list of some of the symptoms:

Symptoms may include:
  • Poor posture control or strength.
  • Poor equilibrium and balance.
  • Difficulty isolating head-eye movements.
  • Poor tracking of visual stimuli.
  • Avoidance of upper extremity weight bearing.
  • Discomfort climbing or fear of heights.
  • Tires easily.
  • Challenges establishing dominant hand (right or left handedness)
  • Hypersensitivity (so children may have extreme response to loud noises)
  • Hyposensitivity (children lacking sensitivity to their surroundings)

Some of these you possibly wouldn’t think would be down to a sensory processing disorder – such as the challenges establishing a dominant hand – you would have put that down to Ambidexterity?

The other thing to note is, that, although some children with ASD may have SDP, children who are not on the spectrum can have SDP also.

But what are sensory processing issues?

From what we read, it goes something like this.

A child’s brain (well, everyone’s brain) receives a constant stream of some sensory information, such as smells and the touch of items on their fingers (or in the case I read even the feeling of shoes rubbing against the back of your feed). Most kids can “tune out”; filter this information as they need to. So, a loud unexpected noise, for example, they can deal with.

However, children with sensory processing issues may be under or over sensitive to things around them. Keeping all that information organised and then responding appropriately is challenging for them.

All kids can be finicky or difficult at times. But children with sensory processing issues can be so emotionally sensitive that doing simple daily tasks is a constant challenge. Certain fabrics or tags in clothing might irritate them. On the other end of the spectrum, they might have a high tolerance to pain and not realize when they’re in a dangerous situation.

That is a great example of some of the things we see.

How can we help our daughter?

So, again, from what I read, there is still a growing awareness of STD and it suggests it still controversial in the medical circles. To be fair, I’m not sure if the information is up to date or not. I did carry on to read people talking about DLA (and some information saying it was not considered to be covered by one of the 13 disabilities covered by IDEA).

There also seems to be a lack of things you can do to help, I did find the following information:

Parenting a child with sensory processing issues is no easy task. Your child may be inflexible or bossy. She may be unable to control her behavior at all. Yet there are ways you can support your child and make life easier for both of you. Here are some ideas to try.

  • Learn as much as you can. Understanding the signs of sensory processing issues is a great first step. You can also learn about treatment and therapies for sensory processing issues.
  • Keep track of your child’s behavior issues. Knowing the patterns can help you anticipate tough situations for your child.
  • Provide safe and appropriate outlets. Help your child learn what things are “safe” to touch. Provide places where she can go to feel safe yet included in play with peers or siblings. You can also coach her on ways to “escape” situations before things get out of hand.
  • Use your knowledge to avoid sticky situations. For example, if noisy toys and machines cause your child anxiety, ask your other kids not to play with loud instruments and toys around her. And be mindful about firing up the lawnmower and running the vacuum cleaner.

Some of these are tips we are taking using, though we’re still in that learning phase to figure out what could cause the meltdowns we see.

I hope this has given some insight – maybe you’re looking at this now and things are falling into place? If so, it’s best to seek professional help. That said, for us its a matter of going back in 12 months and see if anything has changed – and to monitor and update anything in journals.

We hope, someday, to have a good plan on helping our daughter, and son, understand the world around them.

My Random Musings