The Sensory Spectrum

For SPD Kiddos and Their Parents


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Signs of SPD in Children – from Picky Eating to Temper Tantrums

Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) affects five to ten percent of all children – an average of one child in every classroom.

Imagine having a child who finds hugs unbearable, or a child who throws temper tantrums virtually every time he or she is taken to a restaurant or store, or a child who refuses to eat. These behaviors are daily realities for more than three million children in the United States alone.

October is National Sensory Awareness Month. The Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) Foundation wants parents to know the Red Flags of SPD:

  •     Overly sensitive to touch, noises, smells, or movement
  •     Floppy or stiff body, clumsy, poor motor skills or handwriting
  •     Difficulty dressing, eating, sleeping, or toilet training
  •     Frequent or lengthy temper tantrums
  •     Easily distracted, fidgety, withdrawn, or aggressive
  •     Craves movement
  •     Easily overwhelmed

Most children with SPD are just as intelligent as their peers, and many are intellectually gifted. Not all children are affected the same way. One child with SPD may over-respond to sensation, and find clothing and certain foods unbearable. Another might under-respond and show no reaction to pain, while yet another might have coordination problems.

Dr. Lucy Jane Miller, founder of the SPD Foundation, provides parents with background information about SPD and common sense strategies for helping children with sensory issues in her books, “Sensational Kids” and “No Longer A SECRET.” According to Miller, “SPD is not a reflection of bad behavior, and it is not caused by bad parenting. In fact, it’s not ‘bad’ at all. It’s physiologic in nature.”

Treatment for SPD typically involves occupational therapy, which enables children to participate in the normal activities of childhood, such as playing with friends, enjoying school, eating, dressing, and sleeping. Depending on the child’s symptoms, other types of treatment might also be recommended, including feeding programs, listening therapy, speech and language therapy, or the DIR® Floortime model.

Click the following links to purchase the books mentioned:


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Dyslexia: Early Warning Signs and Solutions for Parents

For Dyslexia Awareness Month, Learn Early Warning Signs of This Learning Disability

Is your young child struggling with reading? Have you noticed any potential “warning signs” that may indicate a learning disability like dyslexia? Research* shows that one in five people in the United States have some sort of learning disability – yet for many children, the problem remains unidentified and undiagnosed far longer than it should. Experts agree that early detection and intervention is extremely beneficial for children who are showing signs of dyslexia or other learning differences. Continue reading


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Sensory Processing Disorder Foundation Reacts to Breakthrough Study

In reaction to the breakthrough study revealing a biological basis for Sensory Processing Disorder in children, Dr. Lucy Jane Miller of the Sensory Processing Disorder Foundation released the following statement. To read about the study, click here.

SPD affects 5% to 16% of children in the general population. That is more than 1 child in every classroom. Typically these children are misdiagnosed with ADHD or autism, or they are not diagnosed at all…Instead an assumption is made that the child has ‘bad’ behavior. Sadly, parents are accused of not disciplining their children appropriately or not providing enough structure for their children. Researchers at the Sensory Processing Disorder Foundation have been studying SPD for over 30 years and supports continued research of SPD. The Foundation organized a multi-disciplinary team of experts called the SPD Scientific Workgroup that includes 50 physicians and scientists from research institutions such as Harvard, MIT, Duke and many other universities. These researchers have provided physiological, neurological, psychological, etiological, familial and other data about SPD. Continue reading


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Breakthrough Study Reveals Biological Basis for Sensory Processing Disorders in Kids

Sensory processing disorders (SPD) are more prevalent in children than autism and as common as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, yet the condition receives far less attention partly because it’s never been recognized as a distinct disease.

In a groundbreaking new study from UC San Francisco, researchers have found that children affected with SPD have quantifiable differences in brain structure, for the first time showing a biological basis for the disease that sets it apart from other neurodevelopmental disorders.

One of the reasons SPD has been overlooked until now is that it often occurs in children who also have ADHD or autism, and the disorders have not been listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual used by psychiatrists and psychologists.

“Until now, SPD hasn’t had a known biological underpinning,” said senior author Pratik Mukherjee, MD, PhD, a professor of radiology and biomedical imaging and bioengineering at UCSF. “Our findings point the way to establishing a biological basis for the disease that can be easily measured and used as a diagnostic tool,” Mukherjee said.

(The image above shows areas of the brain that can be affected by sensory processing disorders. Using an advanced form of MRI, researchers at UCSF have identified abnormalities in the brain structure of children with SPD primarily in the back of the brain.) Continue reading


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The New Social Story Book: Over 150 Social Stories that Teach Everyday Social Skills

Book The New Social Story Book, Revised and Expanded 10th Anniversary Edition: Over 150 Social Stories that Teach Everyday Social Skills to Children with Autism or Asperger's Syndrome, and their Peers By Carol GrayBook: The New Social Story Book, Revised and Expanded 10th Anniversary Edition: Over 150 Social Stories that Teach Everyday Social Skills to Children with Autism or Asperger’s Syndrome, and their Peers by Carol Gray

Social Stories provide real social understanding! Carol Gray developed the Social Story in 1991 to promote social understanding in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Now, nearly twenty years after their inception, Social Stories have become a standard approach for teachers and parents all over the globe, and the stories are more effective than ever.

Winner of an Outstanding Literary Work of the Year Award by the Autism Society of America, this 10th Anniversary Edition of The New Social Story Book offers over 150 of the most requested Social Stories, each one professionally written by Carol Gray. But it doesn’t end there Carol also teaches you how to write Social Stories yourself. Years of experience and trial-and-error have led to updated Story guidelines. Carol explains her fine-tuned process in the included ten-step learning module “The Social StoryTM 10.1 Tutorials” perfect for parents and teachers. Continue reading

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