Learning to be an effective parent is a challenge. If your child has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and sensory processing disorder, your task is much more difficult. Not every child with ADHD has SPD, but sometimes the two conditions are bundled together. Both can be treated to help your child function normally, but they are two different conditions and require different types of therapy.
ADHD, according to Christine Petersen, author of the book, "Does Everyone Have ADHD?: A Teen's Guide to Diagnosis and Treatment," is a "health and mental disorder that affects learning, behavior, and perception." Petersen states that more than 4 million children in the U.S. have some form of ADHD. It comes in many forms and is really a variety of conditions which can occur in various combinations. Children and adults with ADHD might have a hard time with learning, fitting in and managing their lives.
2. SID: Sensory Integration Dysfunction
Sensory Integration Dysfunction, now known as SPD or Sensory Processing Disorder, according to the SPD Foundation website, is a condition that occurs when information delivered through the child's five senses is not processed correctly by the brain. This can result in a variety of apparent behaviors, such as clumsiness, misinterpreting or failing to hear messages, and sensitivity to certain textures and tastes. Neuroscientist A. Jean Ayres describes the way someone with SPD receives information as a "traffic jam" of input.
3. Recognized Therapy for ADHD and SPD
There is therapy for both ADHD and SPD, but if your child has both, then the treatment for one will not correct the other. Accepted treatment for ADHD can include prescription medication, counseling, support groups, goal coaching or diet therapy. The accepted treatment for SPD is play-based therapy in a sensory-rich environment. Some children might also benefit from occupational therapy and listening therapy. The first step toward helping your child is an accurate diagnosis from a trained professional.
4. Look for Help
Your pediatrician and school counselor can help you locate the specialists your child might need. Including the educators, counselors, and administrators at your school in your child's professional team will help them to understand his needs and enable them to provide the right kind of instructional support to help him succeed in school. You might also seek out support groups. Other parents who have ADHD or SPD children might be able to provide ideas and information you might not think of on your own.
- Additude: Is It Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) or ADD/ADHD?
- U.S. Library of National Medicine: Sensory Processing Problems in Children with ADHD, a Systematic Review
- SPD Foundation: About Sensory Processing Disorder
- SPD Foundation: Treatment
- "Does Everyone Have ADHD?: A Teen's Guide to Diagnosis and Treatment"; Christine Petersen; October 2006
- "The Out-of-Sync Child"; Carol Kranowitz; August 2005
- SPD Foundation: What We Offer
- ADDitude Magazine: Living Well with Attention Deficit
- CHADD: Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
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