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.
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.