Sensory Processing Disorder Parent Support
Sensory Processing Disorder Parent Support 

Sensory Processing Disorder Myths & Misconceptions 

Children with Sensory Differences ... Painting the world beautiful.

Sensory Processing Disorder Myths & Misconceptions 

Jeanette Loftus 

Sensory Processing Disorder Myths & Misconceptions
It is very unfortunate that there are still so many myths and misconceptions about children who have sensory processing disorder and their parents. This can cause so many misunderstandings for parents and their children. Challenging these myths about sensory processing disorder are very important for awareness and to help others better understand sensory processing disorder.


Talking to your friends and family about sensory processing differences can help them better understand what sensory processing disorder is and how this can affect you and your child. Sharing your own personal story and your own experiences with sensory differences can really help other people to understand it a lot better. 


Myth 1: Sensory Processing Disorder is a Fake and fad Diagnosis.

Truth: Sensory processing disorder is a real diagnosis.
Sensory processing disorder was first recognized by occupational therapist Dr. A. Jean Ayres in the 1970's but since then there's been so many studies that have been done to understand sensory differences better. Sensory processing disorder is a real disorder that affects 1/6 children but it is not yet included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. (DSM-5) Research has shown that children who struggle with sensory processing disorder do have differences in brain structure and function that can lead to difficulties in processing sensory information.


Myth 2: Sensory Processing Disorder is the same as Autism.

Truth: While sensory processing disorder can co occur with autism, they are different and not the same diagnosis. Sensory processing disorder and autism do have a lot of similarities but they are different disorders with very different diagnostic criteria. Sensory processing disorder is the way the brain processes sensory information and autism is a neurological and developmental disorder. A child can have both sensory processing disorder and autism. Often most autistic people have sensory processing differences. 


Myth 3: Sensory Processing Disorder is a Childhood Disorder.

Truth: Sensory processing disorder can affect both children and adults.
Sensory processing disorder is usually diagnosed for children but it continues for adults as they age. Adults with sensory processing disorder can have difficulties with their jobs, relationships and daily functioning due to their sensory processing challenges. Early intervention can help a child learn ways to cope better with their sensory differences so it is easier as they get older. 


Myth 4: Sensory Processing Disorder is a rare disorder.

Truth: Sensory processing disorder is more common than most people think.
Research suggests that sensory processing disorder affects up to 1 in 20 children and some studies say that 1/6 children have sensory processing disorder. This would make it a very prevalent disorder than many well known disorders like autism or ADHD. There is not much awareness or knowledge for sensory processing disorder and many children who have sensory processing disorder may go undiagnosed or often misdiagnosed too. 


Myth 5: Sensory Processing Disorder is Caused by Poor Parenting.

Truth: Sensory processing disorder is a neurological condition and has nothing to do with a parent's parenting. Sensory processing disorder is not caused by poor parenting skills or their lack of discipline for their child. Parents of children who struggle with sensory processing disorder feel guilt or blame themselves often for their child's behavior but it is important to know and understand that sensory processing disorder is not due to a parents parenting skills at all.


Myth 6: Children with sensory challenges are just picky eaters or fussy.

Truth: While some children with sensory processing challenges could have food aversions, this is not the same as being a picky eater.
Children with sensory processing disorder may have aversions to certain textures, smells, or aversions to tastes too and this can make eating challenging and very stressful for both a parent and their child. 


Myth 7: Children with Sensory Processing Disorder will outgrow their sensory difficulties.

Truth: Some children may improve their sensory processing skills over time but many will continue to have challenges throughout their lives.
Early intervention and supports in place can help a child develop sensory coping strategies but sensory processing challenges are not something that children will just grow out of.
While some children may experience improvements in their sensory symptoms as they grow older,  sensory differences are a lifelong condition for most who struggle with it. 


Myth 8: Sensory processing challenges only affect children with autism or other developmental disabilities.

Truth: Sensory processing challenges are common in children who are autistic or have other developmental disabilities, they can also affect children without other diagnoses too.
Sensory processing difficulties can occur for children with a lot of abilities and backgrounds, and it is essential to recognize and support  children regardless of their diagnosis.


Myth 9: Children with Sensory Differences are just being difficult or not behaving.
 
Truth: Children with sensory challenges are not intentionally misbehaving. They are struggling to process the sensory information around them in their environment. 
This can cause a child to have different behaviors that may appear to be disruptive or challenging to others but these behaviors are because of the child's neurological condition, not deliberately misbehaving. 


Myth 10: Children with sensory processing disorder are just overly sensitive. 
 
Truth: Sensory processing disorder is not about being overly sensitive to sensory input. It is a complex condition that can affect a child's ability to process and respond to sensory information in different ways. Some children with sensory difficulties may be overly sensitive to some sensory input and other children may be under-responsive or seek out intense sensory input. 


Myth 11: Children with sensory difficulties cannot participate in typical activities.
 
Truth: With just the right support and accommodations children with sensory processing disorder can participate in a lot of different activities. 
It is important to work with the child's occupational therapist (OT) to identify sensory strategies that can help the child successfully engage in different typical activities so they can be included too. 


Myth 12: Sensory Processing Challenges Only Impacts Five Senses. 
 
Truth: Sensory processing challenges can affect all sensory systems, including the vestibular system (balance), proprioceptive system (movement and position), and interoceptive system (internal bodily sensations). We have eight (8) senses, not five (5). 


Myth 13: Kids with Sensory Processing Disorder Need More Discipline. 
 
Truth: Children with sensory difficulties don't misbehave on purpose. Their sensory challenges often result in difficulty regulating their emotions and their behaviors. Parents and teachers need to offer support, understanding and not additional discipline. We need to support and love children through their sensory challenges, not make them feel worse by thinking their behavior is intentional and requires discipline. 

 
'Myth 14: Kids with Sensory Processing Challenges Just Need to Get Tougher

Truth: Sensory processing disorder is a neurological difference that cannot be get better by a child getting tougher. Therapy and support help a child understand their sensory needs and develop sensory coping skills. Being tough doesn't have to do with sensory differences. Children with sensory processing disorder are the toughest kids you will ever meet. It takes a lot of strength to persevere through sensory difficulties each day. 


Myth 15: Sensory Processing Challenges Is Just Another Name for ADHD

Truth: ADHD and sensory processing disorder do share some similar symptoms but they are different diagnoses. ADHD mostly affects attention and focus but a child who struggles with ADHD can also have sensory differences too. 
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DISCLAIMER: I am not an Occupational Therapist. I am an adult who has Sensory Processing Disorder, a sensory parent and a Grandma. The information on this website is not medical advice and does not replace the information that your child's therapists gives you. These are just ideas and information that I have learned myself over the years of being a parent and an adult living with SPD. If you are concerned for your child, please always seek medical attention through a family doctor, pediatrician or therapist. This website is for suggestions and informational purposes only. Each child is different and what works for one child may not for another because all children have different needs. Please always consult with a professional. Amazon offers a small commission on products sold through their affiliate links on my website.  Each of your purchases through links on my website for Amazon affiliation links or sponsored links support me but no additional cost to you so thank you. I appreciate it so much!