Tuesday, February 17, 2009

SPD (Sensory Processing Disorder)

So going back to where this whole thing started for us....SPD was how we came to this place in our lives. It indicated something was off with our son and threw me into an OCD (yes, I have it, but generally it just fuels my research, he he he) fit of looking for answers. I was not satisfied with accepting that he just had SPD, I needed to find out why and ultimately, how to relieve him of it. Jenny McCarthy has really shed a lot of light on the biomedical route of recovery for much more severe children and what I noticed is that many of the things we were dealing with were VERY similar to what happens to autistic children, just on a much less severe level. So are we preventing him from being diagnosed as having Asperger's Syndrome? I don't know, but my gut tells me that, if we let him just continue the way he was going, by the time he got into grade school, there would be some sort of diagnosis like ADHD and/or Asperger's. I believe in my heart of hearts that we are preventing that! And just for the record, ADHD/ADD is in the autism spectrum...meaning they all share in the same neuro-disconnects! The autism spectrum varies considerably.

So what is SPD? And not in medical technical terms? It is not in and of itself an ASD, but it certainly is shared with those who are on the AS. What does that mean though? As far as I am concerned, it's not about the label, it is about WHAT is going on in their little bodies! SPD is a disconnect between the sensory nerves and the brain. So for example, for the average person, a warm food is tolerable, but to someone who is sensory deffensive, that warm food might be HOT and truly feels that way to them. Their brains do not properly organize and read the senses. Most people have some sensory issues, but not to the degree that they effect your everyday life. In the end, what it all comes down to is do these issues consume you or your child? Do they effect your way of living? A child who is bombarded by everything that makes them either sensory "defensive" (feeling a lot of pain all day) or they are sensory "seekers" (needing to bounce, jump and crash), they feel completely disorganized and tend to lash out emotionally. I know that when I have a canker sore, a little tiny painful annoyance that is underlying everything I do all day, I have constant irritation and I become moody in my response to things, it exhausts me. Imagine how these kids feel? They don't feel right either, they are irritated by the world around them and then their parents and teachers are telling them they aren't acting appropriately and they aren't feeling what they feel...."That isn't hot, it's warm!!" Well to them, it's hot and they aren't being justified or understood. Nor are they being taught how to compensate for what they are feeling. Could you see, if your husband constantly told you how you should feel? Or maybe he does and you understand their frustrations?!?! ha ha ha

Since SPD is neurological, I decided to research further into what causes it and found that all of my search results brought up "autism", probably because the more severe cases do involve autistic kids and interestinly, our son shared a lot of similar traits; although he wouldn't be categorized with autistic children, because he is highly social and can read body language. But keep in mind that there are a LOT of layers and overlap there. Just because he is social doesn't preclude him from sharing many traits with an autistic child. It's just not that black and white. The "diagnosis" doesn't need to be there for there to be similarities. When he was younger, I noticed hand flapping and rocking a LOT! While those traits lessened or went away, they were replaced with others, like inscesant lining up of toys, but don't all kids do that?! The constant nagging feeling in me that something wasn't quite right needed to be dealt with and I must say, I wish I addressed it earlier. I let everyone (including doctors AND my own husband) tell me that our son was perfect, that I was over analyzing. Look where we are today....need I say more?

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