January 31, 2011

Part III: What Parents Can Do If a Child Has an SPD

DaughterHelpingDadwithTieIf your child is having behavioral problems and seems to have difficulty in every day tasks, you may first want to assess if your child has sensory problems. Many counselors may first require your child to have a complete physical evaluation to rule-out certain physiological and neurological problems. There are self-reporting tests, based on your child’s behavior, which you can take to determine if your child meets one or more criteria of an SPD. EEGs and other brain imaging tests holds promise for making a diagnosis—especially of an auditory processing disorder.

If your child does have an SPD and does require occupational therapy, you will want to be actively involved in the exercises and play. An hour or two per week of therapy will not be as effective as your continuing these learned activities throughout the week with your child. Also, an OT can help you change the environment so that your child can better manage stimuli within your home.

SPDs are often associated with other disorders and disabilities, so other professionals may need to be involved. It is not uncommon for children with SPDs to have other delays and may need to be treated by speech pathologists and other specialists.

Children with SPDs can be helped with therapy. However, they also may have brains that are “wired” differently—whether genetically or through their early life experiences. Although a nurturing environment can have a positive impact on such children, there may be children who do not experience a complete neurological change or make just limited progress through sensory integrative therapy. Yet as in the Gospel account of the man who was blind from birth, a child’s SPD can bring glory to God, and the child can reach the potential for which God created the child.

Learn more about early intervention programs and other resources for children with special needs.

Sensory Processing Disorder Resource Center

Book Resources

The Out of Sync Child: Has Fun, by Carol Stock Kranowitz

The Out-of-Sync Child: Recognizing and Coping with Sensory Processing Disorder, by Carol Stock Kranowitz

Raising a Sensory Smart Child: The Definitive Handbook for Helping Your Child with Sensory Integration Issues, by Lindsey Biel

Relationship of Learning Problems and Classroom Performance to Sensory Integration: Sensory Integration and the Child, by Jean Ayres

The Sensory Sensitive Child: Practical Solutions for Out-of-Bounds Behavior, by Karen A. Smith and Karen R. Gouze


Ahn, R. R., Miller, L. J., Milberger, S., & McIntosh, D. N. (2004). Prevalence of parents’ perceptions of sensory processing disorders among kindergarten children. The American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 58(3), 287-293. Retrieved from http://www.spdfoundation.net/pdf/ahn_miller.pdf

Ben-Sasson, A., Carter, A. S., & Briggs-Gowan, M. J. (January 20, 2009). Sensory over-responsibility in elementary school: Prevalence and social-emotional correlates. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 37, 705-716. doi: 10.1007/s10802-008-9295-9

Bundy, A. C., Shia, S., Qi, L., & Miller, L. J. (2007). How does sensory processing dysfunction affect play? The American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 61(2), 201-207. Retrieved from http://www.spdfoundation.net/pdf/HowDoesSPDAffectPlay.pdf

Cermak, S. (2009, June). Deprivation and sensory processing in institutionalized and post-institutionalized children: Part I. Sensory Integration Special Section Quarterly, 32(2), 1-3.Retrieved from http://proquest.umi.com.ezproxy.liberty.edu:2048/pqdweb?index=12&did=1772476991&SrchMode=1&sid=1&Fmt=6&VInst=PROD&VType=PQD&RQT=309&VName=PQD&TS=1290367905&clientId=20655

Cermak, S. (2009, September). Deprivation and sensory processing in institutionalized and post-institutionalized children: Part II. Sensory Integration Special Section Quarterly, 32(3), 1-4.Retrieved from http://rx9vh3hy4r.search.serialssolutions.com.ezproxy.liberty.edu:2048/?sid=CentralSearch:ECT&genre=article&atitle=Deprivation+and+sensory+processing+in+institutionalized+and+postinstitutionalized+children%3A+part+II.&volume=32&issue=3&title=Sensory+Integration+Special+Interest+Section+Quarterly&issn=1093-7250&date=2009-09-01&spage=1&aulast=Cermak&aufirst=S

*Davies, P. L., & Gavin, W. J. (March/April 2007). Validating the diagnosis of sensory processing disorders using EEG technology. The American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 61, 176-189. Retrieved from http://www.spdfoundation.net/pdf/Davies_Gavin_2007_Validating_sensory_processing_disorders_using_EEG_technology.pdf

Davies, P. L., & Tucker, R. (2010). Evidence review to investigate the support for subtypes of children with difficulty processing and integrating sensory information. The American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 64, 391-402. doi: 10.5014/ajot.2010.09070

DeGangi, G. A., Breinbauer, C., Roosevelt, J. D., Porges, S., & Greenspan, S. (2000). Prediction of childhood problems at three years in children experiencing disorders of regulation during infancy. Infant Mental Health Journal, 21(3), 156-175. Retrieved from http://web.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.liberty.edu:2048/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=2&hid=12&sid=fcffe1c5-525f-493a-a434-e6c5550d5fa0%40sessionmgr4

D’Angiulli, A., Herdman, A., Stapells, D., & Hertzman, C. (2008). Children’s event -related potentials of auditory selective attention vary with their socioeconomic status. Neuropsychology, 22(3), 293-300. doi: 10.1037/0894-4105.22.3.293

Goldsmith, H. H., Van Hulle, C. A., Arneson, C. I., & Schreiber, J. E. (June 2006). A population-based twin study of parentally reported tactile and auditory defensiveness in young children. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 34, 393-407. doi: 10.1007/s10802-006-9024-0

Lane, S. J., Reynolds, S., & Thacker, L. (2010). Sensory over-responsivity and ADHD: Differentiating using electrodermal responses, cortisol, and anxiety. Frontiers in Integrative Neuroscience, 4 (8), 1-11. Retrieved from http://www.spdfoundation.net/pdf/Lane_Reynolds_Frontiers_Sensory_over-responsivity_and_ADHD_differentiating_using_electrodermal_responses_cortisol_and_anxiety.pdf

Lee, R. M., Seol, K. O., Sung, M., & Miller, M. J. (2010). The behavioral development of Korean children in institutional care and international adoptive families. Developmental Psychology, 46(2), 468-478. doi: 10.1037/a0017358

Miller, L. J., Coll, J. R., & Schoen, S. A. (March/April 2007). A randomized controlled pilot study of the effectiveness of occupational therapy for children with sensory modulation disorder. The Journal of Occupational Therapy, 61, 228-238. Retrieved from http://www.spdfoundation.net/pdf/Miller_Coll.pdf

Miller, L. J., Robinson, J., & Moulton, D. (2004). Sensory modulation dysfunction: Identification in early childhood. In R. DelCarmen-Wiggins & A. Carter (Eds.), Handbook of Infant, Toddler, and Preschool Mental Health Assessment (pp. 247-270). Retrieved from http://www.spdfoundation.net/pdf/Miller_Robinson.pdf

Parham, L. D., Cohn, E. S., Spitzer, S., Koomar, J. A., Miller, L. J., Burke, J. P., . . .Summers, C. A. (2007). Fidelity in sensory integration intervention research. The Journal of Occupational Therapy, 61(2), 216-227. Retrieved from http://proquest.umi.com.ezproxy.liberty.edu:2048/pqdlink?vinst=PROD&fmt=6&startpage=-1&ver=1&vname=PQD&RQT=309&did=1281780891&exp=11-20-2015&scaling=FULL&vtype=PQD&rqt=309&TS=1290374724&clientId=20655

Schneider, M. L., Moore, C. F., Gajewski, L. L., Larson, J. A., Roberts, A. D., Converse, A. K., & DeJesus, O. T. (2008). Sensory processing disorder in a primate model: evidence from a longitudinal study of prenatal alcohol and prenatal stress effects. Child Development, 79, 100-113. Retrieved from http://www.spdfoundation.net/pdf/Schneider_Moore_SPD_in_a_Primate_Model_2008.pdf

Shackman, J. E., Shackman, A. J., & Pollak, S. D. (2007). Physical abuse amplifies attention to threat and increases anxiety in children. Emotion, 7(4), 838-852. doi: 10.1037/1528-3542.7.4.838

Wiggins, L. D., Robins, D. L., Bakeman, R., & Adamson, L. B. (13 March 2009). Breif [sic] report: Sensory abnormalities as distinguishing symptoms of autism spectrum disorders in young children. Journal of Autism Developmental Disorder, 39, 1087-1091. doi: 10.1007/s10803-009-0711

Wilbarger, J., Gunner, M., Schneider, M., & Pollak, S. (2010). Sensory processing in internationally adopted, post-institutionalized children. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 51(10), 1105-1114. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-7610.2010.02255

4 comments on “Part III: What Parents Can Do If a Child Has an SPD”

  1. Tweets that mention Part III: What Parents Can Do If a Child Has an SPD | From Hope to Reality | The Adoption Blog of Nightlight Christian Adoptions -- Topsy.com says:

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Pamela Lucas, Nightlight Christian. Nightlight Christian said: What can parents do if their child has an SPD?- read more at... http://fb.me/umQkyB56 [...]

    1. Hi Laura , just now catching up with your blogs after a while. so not sure how "appropriate" it is to reonpsd to an old post but everything you have to say is fascinating. I thought I'd reonpsd to this one. My son has severe oral sensory difficulties and in discovering that I realized that I do too. I've just now been able to start drinking soda for the first time in my life as it always hurt my mouth (among other things I can't eat). It was a little odd as a kid, but my dentist has always been happy.

  2. Thanks Shannon. I was thinking the same thing while we were there. Frog and I had the place to olveeurss. He got to pretty much do as he pleased without mom hovering and telling him to use a softer voice. He was actually pretty quiet too - when he did make noise it sounded like he was just singing with the gulls.

  3. a lot of his firsts with you. I will never fgreot when he said, mom, dad, and me for the first time when we were doing his session together. And now, because of you, he is with a great team to help him further. This website is awesome.

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