5kits zhao

Calendar

January 2011
M T W T F S S
 12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
31  

Pages

Archives

Blogroll






 

Autism and Sensory Processing Disorder: The grocery store challenge

Bethany Sciortino

There are many conditions comorbid to autism, and Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), or Sensory Integration Dysfunction, is one of the most common. SPD describes the inability or difficulty to take in or process sensory input, causing interference in daily functioning which often results in problematic behavior, learning challenges or difficulty in developing and maintaining relationships. SPD affects all five senses, as well as the vestibular system (balance and spatial orientation) and proprioception (positional sense). Children with SPD vary in their characteristics and intensity. One child might be hypersensitive to sensory input, while another could be hyposensitive. And, it is quite common for a child to have characteristics of both making it extremely difficult for self regulation, ultimately interfering with simple tasks such as going to a mall or grocery store.

Autistic children with SPD often have difficulty processing more than one sensory input at a time. Over-stimulating environments are usually the culprits of temper tantrums, screaming fits or sensory shut-down. A perfect example of multiple distractions is a grocery store: overbearing fluorescent lights, temperature variances from food freezers to warm bakeries, high-pitched beeping cash registers, announcements over loud speakers and multiple coinciding conversations are too much for an autistic child with SPD to bear. In a world where sameness and routine bring comfort to autistic children, each turn into a new aisle is an unknown variable and has the potential to peak anxiety. Add to the equation an overwhelming urge for autistic children to touch all things within hands reach and the tendency for them to run (fight or flight reflex) when confused, you have a recipe for disaster, ensuing temper tantrums and frustrated parents.

Read in Full:  http://www.examiner.com/autism-parenting-in-orlando/autism-and-sensory-processing-disorder-the-grocery-store-challenge

 

Sensory processing disorder: Why it’s not just the diagnosis du jour for kids

For children with the disorder, normal clothing may feel like sandpaper and school lighting can feel like a burning laser beam. Expert Roya Ostovar explains how to help

Symptoms of SPD include picky eating, frequent meltdowns, clumsiness and difficulty getting to sleep without a parent. Isn’t this normal kid behaviour?

Yes. However, what distinguishes this disorder is that children with SPD really can’t live a normal life and [can’t] go about their day-to-day functioning without interference from these symptoms.

What causes sensory processing disorder?

It seems there are hereditary and genetic factors involved, and prenatal issues if the mother used drugs, alcohol or some prescription medications while pregnant. During birth, sometimes there are traumas that cause, for example, a lack of oxygen to the brain. Or once the child is born, there may be neurological or medical conditions and trauma such as falls, injuries, surgery or even chronic abuse and neglect.

Autistic children are known to have sensory issues. What makes SPD a standalone disorder?

Many children with SPD do not have other symptoms of autism – they have good adaptive skills, they can communicate well with their peers and they have good social skills. But they really have difficulty processing sensory information accurately and effectively.

How do these kids do in school?

We know for sure that 5 to 13 per cent of children entering school experience the symptoms of this disorder – and 73 to 75 per cent are boys. They walk into school already feeling there’s too much to deal with. Faced with the crowd at school, all the noises, all the tactile information and the various lights, their sense system feels quite overwhelmed. So it’s very difficult for students with SPD to function successfully in school without appropriate treatments.

Parents without special-needs kids may wonder if SPD is just an elaborate excuse for bad behaviour.

SPD is a real disorder. And there are ways that you can distinguish between SPD and a behavioural disorder. You can consider the child’s reaction and responses to sensory input, especially those to touch and movement. Children with SPD seem truly pained and uneasy when they’re experiencing sensory information that their bodies cannot process well.

If there is no standard diagnostic test for SPD, how do health professionals make sense of the cluster of symptoms?

Occupational therapists have the tools to test for this disorder and many psychologists and neurophysiologists can work with families to get the necessary diagnosis. Pediatricians are becoming informed about this disorder and referring children and their families to occupational therapists.

What kind of therapies help children with SPD?

The main form of treatment is occupational therapy that is focused on sensory integration and developing what is called a sensory diet. The child is given a prescription, a method to calm down and organize the senses. Activities and items are chosen by the therapist to be fun, enjoyable and encouraging to the child and meet the specific needs of the child. They may include listening to certain music or doing yoga, but the activities are not random or sudden the way day-to-day life is.

Why is there such a push to have SPD included in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, due out in 2012?

If it’s not included as a disorder, it’s more difficult for families to get services and coverage for treatments through their insurance.

Skeptics argue this is a vague disorder that represents a growth industry for occupational therapists, and that parents are paying upward of $10,000 a year for unproven therapies.

I can understand their position. This is a new disorder. However, this is a real disorder. If we go back and look at autism, Asperger’s syndrome and well-known disorders such as ADHD and schizophrenia, you can see that in most of these cases from the time the first cases were described in the literature to the time when they were officially recognized as a diagnosis it took 40 or 50 years.

What’s the best-case scenario for a child with SPD?

If a child begins to see an occupational therapist and has sensory integration therapy, you begin to see an improvement in all the areas of functioning: their attention, concentration, socialization and even their self-esteem. They start to participate more fully at home and at school – typically, between six months to a year.

This interview has been condensed and edited.

Source:  http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/family-and-relationships/sensory-processing-disorder-why-its-not-just-the-diagnosis-du-jour-for-kids/article1696912/



Leave a Reply

*