Sensory Processing Disorder Manifestations

Sensory Processing Disorder or (SPD) is still fairly a new concept. Which makes it difficult for most parents. It’s considered “on the spectrum” like ADHD and Autism, but unlike those two that are well known and accepted, SPD is something most people never hear about until they come across it firsthand.

SPD also displays a wide variety of symptoms so it is hard to pinpoint easily, even if you have some personal experience with it. Which is amazing considering they say that at least 1 in 20 people are affected by it.

So how does Ben’s sensory processing present itself?

Our son Ben is a sensory seeker, but there are kids with just the opposite problems, instead of looking for intense experiences, they shy away from them.

Ben craves oral stimulation. He feels the need to put everything in his mouth.

Eating Sand

Eating Sand

Tree licking

Tree licking

Ben is very tactile.  When he eats, he often will make art with his food for hours if you let him…DSC_0052

If things don’t go Ben’s way he has difficulty coping with it. He will often throw tantrums for the slightest miscommunication or if he can’t get things exactly the way he wants. When everything else in your body is out of control, having control in other areas of very important.

Flailing tantrums everywhere.

Flailing tantrums everywhere.

The worst of the sensory seeking problems is Ben’s inability to keep his hands to himself. Again, tactile. All our boys wrestle with each other, but Ben needs to have his hands or body on or against someone constantly.

Aaron doesn't mind it as much as the others.

Aaron doesn’t mind it as much as the others.

He is also very clumsy. This is because his vestibular system is either underdeveloped or developed wrong. It is the essence of sensory processing and the root of all the other problems, if you believe the research. Walking down the street and holding hands with him, I may find him trip on his own feet a few times a minute. In occupational therapy she spends a lot of time swinging and lifting heavy things to help develop this system.

But with all these problems comes an incredible mind.

Ben, our deep thinker.

Ben, our deep thinker.

Every day he amazes me with new concepts he grapples with. Just this morning he was asking me if we can use the stove in the past. I had to explain to him what the difference between past, present and future where and how, because we can not travel in time we can not use the stove in the past. Then he wanted to know if the stove existed in the past. Amazing stuff. Every day it’s a wonder to me how his brain works.

Perhaps the underdeveloped part of his body is compensated for with the overdeveloped brain power.

I think one of the hardest things about it is that, because your kid looks perfectly normal, no one realizes he isn’t. So they have a certain level of expectation that he can’t possibly live up to.

Are you wondering if your kid is 1 in 20 with a sensory processing disorder? You can take a test here.

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