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Great article from the on what to look for if you suspect someone with SPD.


There can be so much to pay attention to and be aware of as we are raising our children. Often we know when something is serious and warrants our attention. What do you do when the challenges you see in your child are more subtle? One diagnosis that can be missed or misdiagnosed in children in Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). SPD impacts our ability to take the information we receive from our senses and use it to respond in an appropriate way. To help you understand Sensory Processing Disorder, here are five main criteria: 

Inappropriate responses to sensory information
Children with SPD can be over-responsive (sensitive), or under-responsive (non-reactive) to information they receive from their senses such as touch, taste, sounds, movement, or smell. Some examples of a sensory-sensitive child might include picky eating, avoids playground equipment like the swing or slide, and very sensitive to noises Some examples of a sensory under-responsive child include a need to crash/jump into things, excessive need to touch things, high-activity level and may seem clumsy. 

Challenges with emotional regulation
Children with SPD can also experience challenges with emotional regulation, which is the body's ability to monitor and regulate responses to everyday experiences. They might have a hard time consoling themselves when upset, be prone to longer and more intense tantrums, get overly excited or not excited enough, may have a very high or very low activity level, or might have a hard time settling down at bedtime. 

Difficulty with transitions
Children with SPD have challenges absorbing information from their environment. This means that anytime the environment changes or shifts in anyway, it will an overwhelming experience for the sensory child. There are many transitions every day like getting dressed, going to school, moving into different sections of learning at school, transitioning from school to home, play time to homework time or dinnertime, and transition to bedtime. 

Delays reaching developmental milestones
Children with SPD often have delays reaching some developmental milestones. Some developmental delays include speech and language, gross or fine motor skills, social development delays, or challenges with attention and focus for their age. 

Social challenges
Many kids with SPD experiences some challenges socially. Kids with SPD may play alone when with big groups of children or be loud and overbearing in social situations, may misread a social cue and act inappropriately, or may have have a hard time with normal back-in-forth exchanges with peers. 

If you are concerned that your child is showing some signs of Sensory Processing Disorder, talk to your pediatrician about getting a referral to a Developmental Pediatrician or to Early Intervention for an evaluation. Thankfully, there is so much you can do to support sensory development for your child. Common supports include speech therapy, occupational therapy, and social skill classes--all tools that will help your sensory child learn how to effectively process sensory information and thrive in their daily lives. 

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