For some children with SPD, sensory input can often feel like an assault coming from all directions. A child might have difficulty listening in class because they are disturbed by the tag in the back of their shirt, can’t sit still because of the line in their sock, and are distracted from the noise of kids in the hallway.
For others, outside stimuli are dulled, as if a shade has been pulled over the environment, muting sights, sounds, and touch. These children seek extra stimulation to arouse themselves, much like one might need a cold shower to wake-up after a sleepless night. These are the kids who love to spin and swing upside down. Most children with SPD display elements of both extremes, suffering from sensory overload at some times, seeking stimulation at others. It’s not difficult to see how these symptoms, distractibility, fidgeting, the need for intense activity, and problems with social interactions, could seem like ADHD.
Because Sensory Processing Disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder overlap, parents, teachers and medical professionals may mistake one condition for the other. In cases when ADHD and SPD do coexist, it is important to distinguish one from the other because their treatments are different.
This is why the ADHD Center for Success recognizes the importance of evaluating Sensory Processing in the context of an ADHD evaluation.
In addition to our comprehensive ADHD evaluation, the ADHD Center for Success utilizes the internationally recognized Sensory Profile developed by Winnie Dunn in 1999. The Sensory Profile has several forms. In children, the assessment is done by parent report, and in Adolescents/Adults, through self-report. It is a measure of the person’s responses to sensory events in daily life, and is used to assess a person’s sensory related difficulties, and better understand the complexities of their sensory processing. The Sensory Profile gathers critical information relating to home, school, or work that can assist in designing strategies for managing daily life. Individuals can choose whether to include the Sensory Profile as part of their assessment.