Sensory Processing Disorder (or SPD) can present in a number of different ways. Its effect is different from person to person, which is one of the reasons it’s so difficult to diagnose accurately. Misdiagnosis is all too common. For example, if a child presents with depression or anxiety, he or she might be diagnosed as having attention deficit disorder (ADD or ADHD). It doesn’t help that so many children who have attention deficit disorder also have sensory processing disorder.
If a misdiagnosis occurs, then the depression and anxiety won’t be alleviated until the cause of the symptoms is addressed. Many who haven’t been properly diagnosed will self-medicate, a dangerous trend in adults and children who grow up with these disorders.
Antidepressants and anti-anxiety meds won’t do a thing to treat the real cause of the depression, which can in turn compound its effects. Education is important when trying to set things right. Once properly diagnosed with the correct disorder, a patient can gradually be weaned off the wrong meds in order to receive the right ones later. Some kids with attention deficit disorder will find that stimulants help them focus or cope with, although others will find the drugs interfere with personality.
First, you’ll want to pay attention to your child’s reactions to various stimuli as they grow up. Do they have abnormal reactions to taking drugs or simple actions that involve tactile sensations like washing hair? What about walking around barefoot? Kids with SPD might not be so easy to diagnose, because they can sometimes go from one extreme to another without warning. At one point they might endure sensory overload, while at another they may desire more sensation because their senses have been dulled.
Scientists at the Sensory Processing Treatment and Research Center in Denver, Colorado, believe that over half of children with either disorder actually have both.
The earlier you can retrieve the right diagnosis and provide your child with the right occupational therapy, investigative analysis, and social training based on individual symptoms, the sooner the child will adapt to fit into society normally. Symptoms of SPD can be managed or eliminated over time, but it’s important to fight those symptoms as early as possible.
Considering there are over 8 different senses and three different subtypes of SPD, a child diagnosed with the disorder has their own set of unique needs and challenges. Once it is determined which senses are over and/or under sensitive, working with a PRP therapy Tampa can help generate a plan to make life easier for you and your child.
Most of the time your child will be working with an occupational therapist that will help retrain their senses. Sensory Integration involves play, sensory stimulating activities in an effort to bring positive feelings that the child can associate in other environments. This is sometimes referred to as a sensory diet, where activities and exercises are introduced to the child in a safe controlled manner in order to discover new sensations.
This type of approach can be very helpful for physical therapy, vision therapy, and listening therapy as well as psychotherapy and speech therapy. This is all based on the theory of neuroplasticity or the belief that the brain can change.
A good occupational therapist will then help you take these techniques and apply them at your home through a process called sensory organizing. An example of this is establishing a routine that mitigates sensory exposure by breaking down each thing into small easy to accomplish steps.
There are many other “life hacks” that are easy to implement to make life more comfortable for your child including:
sound blocking headphones
sunglasses in bright areas
tag free clothing
sneaking in nutritious foods into meals
For more information on treating your child with SPD by using therapy, feel free to contact us for more information.
Going on road trips with children that do not have sensory processing disorder can be a challenge in itself. Now, tack on the needs of a child with sensory processing disorder. You’re probably anxiety stricken at even the thought of a road trip. While going on vacation is fun, you don’t want to overload your child nor do you want to cause him/her any harm. With the help of Sensory Mom Secrets and ilslearningcenter.com, we were able to put together a list of tips and tricks to make your road trip enjoyable.
Tips for Road Trips When a Child has SPD
Any children can grow impatient on a road trip. Even if your child does not have sensory processing disorder, this list will help keep any child calm in the back seat.
New Movies, TV Shows, Games, and Apps
The portable electronic device is a blessing in disguise for parents of all children. Load up your device with new content like movies, tv shows, or games that your child likes. This will take their attention off the road and help pass the time. It is important to keep in mind that you will want to limit the consumption of technology to avoid a sensory overload that makes come with prolonged exposure.
Travel at Night
Traveling at night is can’t always be done, but if you can travel at night, we recommend doing so. Generally, at night there is less going on, therefore, there is less for your child to process. Also, you can give the kids dinner in the car, let them watch a show, then put them to bed; just as you would at home. The biggest factor will be keeping your child with SPD comfortable. If she/he has a favorite blanket, toy, or stuffed animal, bring it with you, it could make a worlds difference.
Give the Kids a Break
If you are taking a long road trip, it is likely you will have to stop for a bathroom break every once in a while. When you are planning your trip, schedule in some breaks for the children to burn energy. This will not only tire them out, but it will relieve the stress of being trapped in a car.
Plan Out Bathroom Breaks Before you Leave the House
Children with sensory processing disorder can be very picky when it comes to which bathrooms they will use. Often, the condition of the bathroom (how it smells, the lighting) can weigh in on if your child will enter the bathroom. If there is a store along the way your child is familiar with, try to find one along the route.
Pack some snacks
While we can stop anywhere for food, as you already know, your child with SPD may not be able to. You know best what foods will react well with your child. Pack foods ahead of time to avoid any reluctance to eat.
We hope that these tips make your next road trip a blast. Always remember, to drive safe and avoid drinking alcohol before driving. If you are however pulled over for a DUI and are driving through the state of Georgia, contact Gwinnett County DUI attorneys for representation.