Sensory processing disorders (SPD) are where you have impairment in responding to sensory stimuli like a disability in modulation, detection or interpretation of stimuli. SPD problems impact children’s responses to daily life sensory events.
When you realize your child may be struggling with SPD, your next step is to seek the help of an experienced professional like a San Diego pediatric occupational therapist so she can evaluate your child. Unfortunately, many children with SPD don’t receive a correct diagnosis. The professional who is evaluating your child will attempt to rule out a couple of disorders that have similar symptoms of SPD: ADHD and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
- ADHD. Children with ADHD often display symptoms of sensory processing issues, but children with sensory processing issues might not necessarily meet ADHD criteria.
- ASD. Most kids with ASD have sensory processing issues, however, not all children show signs of ASD when they have sensory processing issues.
Getting Your Child Screened for Sensory Processing Issues
It’s essential that you get your children screened when they’re at an early age to ensure they receive an accurate diagnosis and can then start therapy accordingly. Start with having a specialist evaluate your child. You may have to share information about certain problem behaviors when they started or your child’s history to help the evaluator out. Be sure to mention if you’ve found ways to balance and calm your child’s sensitivity problems.
The evaluator may be a pediatric occupational therapist. If they find issues, they can begin working with your child. They study human development and growth as well as children’s interaction with their environment while performing daily activities. They’re experienced in the emotional, social and physiological effects of different conditions.
This knowledge helps the therapist promote independent living skills in children with ADHD, autism, sensory processing disorder, and other developmental disorders.
Pediatric occupational therapists work together with teachers, other professionals and parents to help set specific goals for children with sensory issues. These goals usually involve behavior, social interaction and classroom performance.