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Another Disorder ?!

Another Disorder?!

Well, I know that I am not the sharpest knife in the drawer but let’s face it. new “disorders” are popping up on a regular basis. I want to know why and I am sure you must wonder about it also. I have taught school for a very long time and I just heard of this “disorder” was on the scene now. Ever heard of Sensory Processing Disorder? Never heard of it? You’re in good company. Neither have many pediatricians, neurologists, psychologists and teachers. Some people think that it is just another attention deficit disorder but it is not related to ADD.

In 1972, A. Jean Ayres, a University of Southern California (USC) psychologist and occupational therapist, published the first book on the condition. Here are just a few of the symptoms that she stated: children have low muscle tone and they are mostly lethargic while others are revved up to go all the time; they annoy other children by running and crashing into them; some cannot stand to hear noises; some cannot tolerate the feeling of clothes on their body; some seemed to be clumsy and are called losers, klutz etc; can’t maintain an upright position at a desk; some are so sensitive to touch that they shriek when their fingernails are trimmed or if they get oatmeal on their face. Sounds and smells can be overwhelming.

Here is a link to two different examples of SPD: http://video.msn.com/video.aspx?mkt=en-us&vid=7cbcaa27-a3f6-4a7e-81dd-dab7288bbd2b I found this quite interesting because I have seen children like this in the past. I just thought that they were misbehaving.

Sensory processing (sometimes called “sensory integration” or SI) is a term that refers to the way the nervous system receives messages from the senses and turns them into appropriate motor and behavioral responses. Whether you are biting into a hamburger, riding a bicycle, or reading a book, your successful completion of the activity requires processing sensation or “sensory integration.” The exact cause of Sensory Processing Disorder–like the causes of ADHD and so many other neuro-developmental disorders–has not yet been identified. So what are we supposed to do if we have a child in our classes OR we are a parent of a child with these symptoms? When I was growing up the adults would probably say, “That child just needs a good spanking!” Let’s face. it, a spanking was for all types of out-of-control behavior. However, we knew nothing of how the brain dictated every move we made. Even though research has come a long way many people still, are not understanding that everyone’s brain is “wired” differently.. And along with this, comes frustration for the lack of being able to cope with what is not understood.

On a personal note, one of my best friends, Linda, could not run. When we were outside for recess she would hit the ball but I would take her runs for her. Other kids called her a loser, klutz and all the other related names. She could hit a ball into the next county! {well, almost} When she was in her 30’s, she was diagnosed with Muscular Dystrophy. So could she have had SPD? That would be up for debate.

If I had not heard of this until recently, I feel sure you haven’t either. Ask someone to tell you about Sensory Processing Disorder. They probably haven’t heard of it but if you want to be of help to someone, this website will help you in understanding HOW someone can be successfully treated: http://www.sensory-processing-disorder.com/treatment-guidelines.html

Until I find another disorder I have never heard of, I remain…

Janie Miller Ferrell