Is sensory processing disorder the same as autism?

Autism is often confused with SPD, but they are actually different conditions. While children with autism often have symptoms of SPD, the underlying cause is different. It may also influence the treatment.

SPD’s in the brain

Sensory processing disorder occurs when there are lasting abnormalities in a child’s brain. The condition is incurable and the only thing which can be done to help is to learn to live with it.

However, autism and ADHD which are often accompanied by SPD, don’t cause similar changes in the brain tissue. They don’t have an underlying physiological cause and are strictly tied to the main condition.

What can you do to help your child?

Unfortunately, in both cases, the forms of therapy are similar: long-term physiotherapy and learning new coping mechanisms. There is no magical pill to help with sensory processing issues. However, there are some minor differences.

For example, if your child’s sensory integration issues result from ADHD, make sure that you focus most of your attention on the ADHD. Medication and treatments dealing directly with ADHD may also alleviate the symptoms related to sensory processing. If you add some physiotherapy for good measure, the effects will be even more spectacular.

Treatment for SPD

And if your child has SPD, there is no cure, either, but the good news is, it gets better with time. Help your child find new coping strategies and get used to overstimulation and understimulation. You can do this by means of physiotherapy and through play at home.