My 4yo niece has SPD but it's not something my sister (her mum) has ever really explained to me. I really struggle with my nieces behaviour because she doesn't listen and she deliberately does what she's just been told not to do. I'm not sure whether this is typical 4 year old behaviour or a symptom of SPD? I feel like whenever I'm "watching" her (if her parents are inside and I'm outside with the kids, etc) I'm constantly on her back to stop antagonizing her brother or stop throwing sand at my daughter, etc. I'm not sure though whether the behaviour is something she can't help because of the SPD or whether she's just being difficult. I think knowing a bit more about SPD would really help me to be more patient with her. I've googled it a lot but because it's on the autism spectrum, it's so hard to find meaningful information because it's a sliding scale.
I hope my wording here isn't offensive to anyone, I love my niece but find my patience gets stretched so thin around her and just want to understand what's going on. Any insight into this would be greatly appreciated!
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21-11-2014 21:12 #1
Can someone explain SPD to me?
21-11-2014 21:17 #2Senior Member
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It could be possible that there's another undiagnosed behavioural disorder there too, they often go hand in hand.
SPD affects people in different ways; for eg my DS would never do anything 'naughty' like that. But from what I understand, your niece could just be feeling so overwhelmed with the environment- the lights, the sounds, the feel- that she just can't cope, and acts out in frustration/emotional overload.
In saying that though, your sister should be trying to get her to learn that that behaviour is unacceptable.
21-11-2014 22:06 #3
Sensory processing disorder means the body doesn't process things correctly.
A light on in the house affects my children as if they are looking directly into the sun. Their eyes water and burn, they cant concentrate on anything because they are extremely disorientated.
Turn the light off; they are fine.
The sound of the vacuum cleaner sounds as loud and overwhelming to them as if a loud motorcycle was revving next to them.
My sons seeks movement and deep pressure to feel normal so most of the time he bounces up and down or hasto squeeze a stress ball or he says he feels like he is floating and it irritates him.
In my experience, my childrens spd causes them discomfort, they cry, it causes a lot of fear and anxiety, very flighty. But i wouldnt say naughtyness.
Do you think perhaps the people around your niece are using her diagnosis as a scapegoat for general
Naughty 4 yr old behaviour?
21-11-2014 22:08 #4
Also, sensory processing disorder isnt autism spectrum disorder, it is extremely common for those with asd to have spd. But it is indeed also
Common to just have spd
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21-11-2014 22:39 #5
21-11-2014 22:47 #6
Spd is often a co-morbidity of asd (i.e. many kids with asd have spd) but its not on the scale. Simply put they have a hard time processing the sensory information in their environment. They will usually either be hypersensitive to certain stimulus or they will be very under stimulated by what is around them.
If hypersensitive, they can become very distressed by seemingly harmless things e.g. the feel of a shirt tag on their skin or the way certain foods feel in their mouth. They literally cannot bear this stimuli and can often become upset until it is removed.
If they are under stimulated they will often exhibit very overt behaviours due to searching extra hard for stimulus. Being stimulated by your senses helps to organise your brain and without this information these children find it impossible to focus. If you cant even tell where your body is in space how are you supposed to think about anything else. These kids are often moving and being loud as that is the only way they can focus. Lots of pressure and things like weighted backpacks helps them as well as things like gym balls to sit on, swings, and anything that will help them to move in big rhythmic ways.
There is a lot more to it but I think that is the basics. It is not a widely known disorder so most people don't hear about it unless they encounter it in their work or family, hence the lack of google info I think.
Last edited by Tildy; 21-11-2014 at 22:53.
22-11-2014 06:11 #7
Thank you so much for sharing your own personal experiences. And thanks also for clearing up my misunderstanding of it bring on the spectrum.
But then she also touches things that she's been told not to touch only seconds earlier, which reminds me of something @anewme posted in another thread recently about her daughter licking things, even though she knows she shouldn't. Is it possible to be both hyper and under stimulated?
Thanks again for Sharing your stories and experiences, I really appreciate it.
22-11-2014 07:21 #8
Eg. Dd2 is sensory seeking orally by licking but she is also avoiding to certain textures of food. Also how food is served Eg no food touching this included salt and sauce, it had to put on the side and eaten separately to the food.
We are blessed that with lots early intervention we can now eat Some touching food and no longer kicks stuff.
All sorts of things can send them into a sensory overload melt down.
Yesterday we went to a shopping cebtre we go to every now and than. Well woolen are putting a sushi bar in their shop . The smell of vinegar was enough for me to notice so for Dd it was so overpowering she couldn't think. She was using every strategies she has ever learnt to just to not flap around screaming. In the end she had to flee. She is 13.
Now your first post sounded like there was some naughty behavior but this second post sounds all like normal spd behavior. Some spd kids can only eat one or two foods that a brand and size specific.
Cry and refusing to eat is not naughty. Forcing her is dangerous. Please don't force her ever.
As for touching something that you just said no too can be a constant need to touch that texture. So you need to look at the behavior closely to figure out if she is testing you or is she is seeking that feel.
So you can be
Seeking or avoiding
There is a lot more than this. This is just a few examples
Eg light, darkness struggling seeing things in a page/drawer if lots of other stuff etc..
Certain sounds they need to hear or can't bear to hear
Find it hard to hear and focus on one voice in a crowd or if 2 people talking. Even though their hearing is perfect.
Needing to smell something or can't cope with a smell
Need to touch or stroke something or can't cope touching etc
Can't be touched
Has a high need for movement. Need to always fidget. Always moving.
Can't cope with too much movement
Need deep touch. Is always rough.
They don't get that others can't cope with such deep/rough touch it feels normal to them. They don't even realize they are doing it.
Often can stand on things (like my foot) and not feel or recognize that they are.
Avoid touch even the slightest touch hurts.
There is so much more.
There are therapy that can help but their is no cure. These are things you and her whole family and most importantly her will have to adjust your life around.
Good parents will move the goal posts to suit her needs and abilities.
She is not a challenging child. She is a child struggling to exist in a world that she doesn't understand. Crying for hours is not normal behavior. There is a huge difference between a tantrum and a sensory meltdown, one is to get your way and the other is a I can't cope with what's happening here and pleading for it to stop because it hurts or is feeling like your whole body is shutting down. I think what you seeing is not always tantrum but a sensory meltdown.
Of course she will do naughty things after all she is a child and needs to learn what's on and what's is not.
As someone that is not in with the treatise each week please take the parents word for things and not make both there life and her life a million times harder.
Think of the mum who child only eats a few foods. Trying to force them to eat what you think they should could cause them to drop a food or 2. It could take years or they may never get those foods back. And there where are they. In freaking hell. Life with a child with spd is not easy. It can be soul destroying.
22-11-2014 07:46 #9
Please talk to the parents of you want to get more information on how to help or cope. They are the only ones that can give you the information you need as only they know what is happening with their child. They have methods in place for her and she needs this.
I wish more people wanted to understand what is going on like you. Most of my family just treat him like a normal boy.
I can't get him babysat. I can't be late for dinner or be careless about what is made. Daycare is a nightmare. Family gatherings I run as soon as I can.
Give yourself and these parents a hug. It's a hard road.
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