The Next ADHD?
TIME magazine has a fascinating story about kids with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), a disorder you've likely never heard of........yet.
SPD can appear in various forms but always involves difficulty handling information that comes in via the senses, and not just the basic five (hearing, seeing, touch, taste and smell) but also knowing how arms and legs are in relation to the rest of the body or how the body is orientated toward gravity.
Some children with SPD cannot bear the sensation of a feather lightly touching their cheek, or the sound of a lawnmower outside, others find it impossible to eat certain textured foods or find it impossible to sit upright in a desk in school.
Parents trying to find out exactly what is going on with their child are frequently frustrated as the behaviors don't match the criteria for an ADHD or autism diagnosis. Most teachers, pediatricians, neurologists, and psychologists aren't familiar with SPD because the disorder isn't yet recognized in the Diagnostic Statistical Manual. Any disorder not included in the DSM is treated like a unicorn feather by insurance companies, so families who can afford to paid out-of-pocket for what treatments exists are the only ones receiving help in many places.
Treating SPD involves having kids work toward doing things they do not enjoy and help them learn to manage their body's response.
No one knows how many children might be severely affected by sensory problems, but initial studies suggest the number might be as high as 1 in 20, making this a disorder worthy of more intense study and something you're sure to be hearing more about in the future.