Anyone ever have a diagnosis of ADHD to find out later it is really sensory processing disorder (SPD)?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Jules71, Oct 28, 2010.

  1. Jules71

    Jules71 Warrior Mom since 2007

    Just curious if anyone has ever been given a diagnosis of ADHD to find out later it is really sensory processing disorder (SPD)?

    I have been reading about Sensory Processing Disorder and how many of the symptoms are the same as ADHD. It's amazing actually.

    I also wonder if stimulants for ADHD can make sensory processing disorder (SPD) symptoms worse.

    Do most psychiatrists blow sensory processing disorder (SPD) off?

    Any insight is appreciated. Thanks!

  2. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    All the docs we've dealt with took sensory processing disorder (SPD) seriously. They all believed in the impact of sensory issues.

    I've not had the other experience, tho. We knew Wee had sensory issues from very early on, so sensory predated his adhd diagnosis.
  3. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Stimulants can make pre-exisitng anxiety worse.

    Sensory issues quite frequently accompany anxiety.

    Sensory issues quite frequently come under an umbrella diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder (Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)).

    Kids with an Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) often appear hyperactive or inattentive, but don't really have true ADHD.

    Do you see where I'm headed?
  4. Jules71

    Jules71 Warrior Mom since 2007

    Interesting. Thanks. When my difficult child was first evaluated in Kindergarten the Occupational Therapist (OT) person at school said he has difficulty with- auditory processing, oral sensory processing, and visual distractibility. She suggested sensory breaks " (movement, proprioceptive input such as heavy work), reducing the amount of visual and auditory input in the classroom, and a sensory regulatory program. None of that is being done.

    We meet with the psychiatrist again to day and wondered if I should mention it.
  5. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    in my humble opinion, sensory stuff is VERY real. Wee will often shut off ANYTHING that makes noise when he tries to read. TV, radio in another room, FANS, AIR name it. He'll also frequently shut off the tv when he's concentrating on lego's.

    If its not being addressed, do bring it up. It can make or break our kiddos.
  6. Jules71

    Jules71 Warrior Mom since 2007

    Thanks - I have brought it up but it seems they are not listening to me. I now have a meeting with the principal for Monday and am also going to be requesting an IEP meeting and re-evaluation.
  7. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    Put EVERYTHING you want in writing, and if they refuse, request notice of actions refused. Create a paper trail that you hope you never have to use.
  8. justour2boys

    justour2boys Momto2Boys

    Be sure to ask for the school's speech pathologist to specifically screen your difficult child for Auditory Processing Disorders (APD) (auditory processing disorder). Auditory Processing Disorders (APD) "looks" a lot like ADD/ADHD and sensory processing disorder (SPD).
  9. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I know stimulants are supposed to make anxiety worse, but for difficult child 3 they calm him down. I think this is because one reason for difficult child 3's agitation and anxiety, is difficulty in staying on task. The stimulants make it easier for him to stay on task and ignore sensory distractions.

    So sometimes the answer is more complex.

    Never forget that medicine is an inexact science, but your child is your child and a wonderful, unique individual. He fits in somewhere to something, but the labels can sometimes get confusing. Make a list of all the issues, maybe consider a parent report or some other way of collecting it all together, then see what that assortment leads to. I find the Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) questionnaire on to be another useful tool in this.

  10. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I think that a LOT of us started with "just" the adhd diagnosis, then found that we had a LOT of other things going on. The neuropsychologist who treats Jess says that sensory processing disorder (SPD) is at the very mildest end of the autistic spectrum, according to the latest thinking on it. Regardless, sensory issues are HUGE and REAL. thank you missed at least 1/4 of the school year with absences due to sensory overload. His 504 gives Occupational Therapist (OT) and says that absences due to sensory issues are excused regardless of how many there are. No child is supposed to miss more than 8% of the school year, but with it written into his 504 we didn't have to go to court over it (parents are sent to court for truancy if a child misses more than 8% in our town.). He couldn't sit through an entire church service until 2 years ago, and this is the first year that he made it through an entire grading period with zero absences!

    When he went into overload it was almost like he went into shock. He gets really cold, shakes, turns pale, sometimes vomits, and if he doesn't get time to work it out alone it gets really bad. There were a couple of times we almost ended up in the ER, but with brushing and joint compressions and my dad reading Uncle Wiggily stories onto CD he worked through it. The stories are calming and my dad's voice is like the dad on Happy Days, if you remember it, deep and soothing. The tapes are so soothing we canot play them in the car because it puts us adults to sleep. W.o it we would have had to get some anti-anxiety medications by shot for thank you because he was literally unable to respond to much due to sensory overload.

    thank you has gotten vastly better at handling his sensory problems, though he will always have them to some degree. We don't push him to try too many new foods, or to eat certain foods at all. He HATES rice and noodles, though if there is gravy he will eat rice. I think my husband would have pushed him a LOT more, but I have sensory issues with foods so I was able to "educate" husband so he stopped pushing the kids.

    I think many kids have undiagnosed sensory issues. Often the only Occupational Therapist (OT) a child sees is a school Occupational Therapist (OT) who doesn't really have the time to do an in-depth evaluation to see how sensory issues affect a child's entire life, so the deeper issues are not addressed. Our school would only have diagnosis'd thank you's handwriting issues because the other problems are not seen as "directly" affecting his education even though they meant he missed more than 1/4 of the year in years past. Advice here led us to having him evaluated privately and we were all totally shocked at how the problems affected his entire life.

    Brushing therapy made the biggest difference for us, and according to the neuropsychologist we see it is effective for most people with sensory processing disorder (SPD), esp when it includes the gentle joint compressions. If you don't already have a copy of The Out of Sync Child Has Fun, I encourage you to get one. it is PACKED with activities for all types of sensory issues and ways to make those activities very cheaply.

    I think that EVERY child who has been suspected of having ANY type of mental illness/learning disorder/autistic spectrum disorder/adhd should be thoroughly evaluated for sensory issues. Heck, it should be part of every child's early childhood screenings, and be required for school attendence, just like shots and eye exams and dental checkups and hearing tests. in my opinion our kids would be far more successful if this happened.
  11. Jules71

    Jules71 Warrior Mom since 2007

    Great advice - I do put EVERYTHING in writing and have a paper trail 20 miles long at least.

    I will have to read up on Auditory Processing Disorders (APD), I just got done reading about NonVerbal Learning Disorder (NVLD) and that fits my nephew to a T (he was diagnosis'd with Aspergers).

    Marg, I made a parent report 3 years ago and update it regularly. It has been a huge help.

    Susie, I agree it should be part of regularly screenings. I have been reading the Out of Sync Child which is what prompted this thread. I will pick up the other one too. Thanks,