Sensory Processing Disorder

ADHD and SPD

Sensory processing disorder (SPD) is a condition that affects how your brain processes sensory information. People can have under-active or over-active sensory processing, and they can be hyposensitive in some senses and hypersensitive in others.

Although there is extensive evidence demonstrating the co-occurrence of ADHD and SPD, the actual prevalence is unknown. One study from 2004 suggested that as many as 40% of children with ADHD also have SPD, but it was based on parent reports and only included kindergarten-aged children. More research is definitely needed in this area.

SPD can impact the five main senses (sight, sound, touch, taste, smell), but also three others: vestibular, interoception, and proprioception. The last three I also cover here.

Interestingly, my son and I are similar but very different in this area. We both have sensory processing differences, but he is much more sensory-seeking, and I am much more sensory-avoiding. He is also a kid who likes to make noise, yet gets overwhelmed by loud environments.

Go figure.

In another ironic twist, I’m hard of hearing, but I don’t like noise. I love concerts and live music, but I get very overwhelmed by loud, chaotic environments.

I would say I am over-responsive to sight, touch, smell, and sound senses. I have an incredibly sensitive nose and am easily overwhelmed by crowds and busy places.

Although my son also gets overwhelmed by loud and busy spaces, he is generally more of a sensory-seeker. He enjoys intense sensory input, such as hanging upside-down, climbing, jumping, and banging — and when he’s gotten all of those sensory needs met, he gives the best snuggles in the world.

Read about additional conditions that are comorbid with ADHD at twoemb.medium.com


Published by Jillian ADHD 2e MB

Jillian has Child and Youth Work diploma as well as a BA in Psychology. Jillian worked on the front lines of Social Services agencies from 2003 - 2012. Jillian has taken numerous continuing education courses and has attended various workshops focused on supporting neurodiverse children, in particular children with ADHD.

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