- What is sensory processing disorder and how can I help my child?
- Causes, symptoms, and treatment of SPD
- Sensory processing disorder (SPD) kids: How they are different
- You know sensory processing disorder exists, so why don’t they?
- What to do when your sensory sensitive child has a meltdown
- Challenges your sensory sensitive child will face at school
- Occupational therapy for a child with SPD
- Can a child outgrow SPD?
- Does a weighted blanket help with sensory issues?
When you first discover Sensory Processing Disorder, you may wonder, “Will my child ever grow out of it?” The simplest answer is maybe. Some children will leave their SPD behind as they grow, while others will need to learn to manage it for their entire life. Be encouraged that new strategies and new treatments mean greater potential for any child with SPD.
Unlike autism, it is possible for a child to outgrow SPD, especially in less severe cases where the underlying cause of the SPD is an immature sensory nervous system. In other cases, SPD is a lifelong condition, in which case the child must learn self-regulation strategies in order to adapt effectively to his or her surroundings. The symptoms and effects of SPD often resemble that of ADHD, but there are differences, and it is those differences that make typical ADHD medicine ineffective in treating SPD complications.
The best course of action is to work with an occupational therapist to reduce, or sometimes remove, such complications. There are also alternative health approaches to reducing or removing SPD complications that are worth exploring such as brain balance therapy, essential oils, and dietary changes.
ASD and ADHD can be complicating factors
There is conflicting opinion as to whether you can outgrow SPD, especially when there may be other disorders such as ASD or ADHD present. As the nervous and sensory system mature and with the correct intervention, it is possible to overcome some sensory processing challenges and live a healthy life. Making sure that your child understands his sensory triggers and works to avoid or learn to cope with them are important steps on the journey to future healthy and emotionally balanced functioning.
They can learn to manage it even if they don’t outgrow it
As a mom of children with SPD, I have seen firsthand the positive results of therapy and simply growing up. As a child grows, their central nervous system also begins to mature. New brain connections can be made that overcome the challenges of SPD, allowing the child to “grow out of it.” However, with the right therapies and tools, a child with SPD can learn to manage their symptoms and overcome their challenges even if they do not outgrow it.
For example, a child who struggles with sensory-seeking behaviors can learn to fill their sensory needs with appropriate things such as contact sports, weighted blankets, and constrictive clothing. By understanding and meeting their own needs, they will learn to function normally in a world that is challenging for them.
You and your kid will adjust with experience
The short answer to this is that we do not know the answer to this question. However, all is not lost and it really isn’t all bad. Like with anything new that we face, it is always really hard in the beginning. It is unknown how it looks and how it responds. As you travel the SPD journey with your child, you will learn their triggers and their safe spaces and you will limit and expose them respectively.
With therapy, you will teach your child coping strategies so that what is a trigger to them at 6, is just part of everyday life at 10. I know it is hard, but like with anything to do with our kids, things do improve over time. I promise!