Sensory Processing Disorder Or ADHD 








Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder symptoms can look different for everyone but usually you will notice difficulty focusing, easily distracted and possibly acting impulsively without considering consequences. Children with ADHD often struggle with doing things that will require attention and may have difficulties when following instructions or completing tasks.

One of the differences between sensory processing disorder and 
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is that sensory processing disorder mainly affects sensory processing but ADHD mainly affects attention, focus and behavior. 

There is an overlap in symptoms and that can make it challenging to be able to differentiate between the two disorders. A child with sensory challenges may also exhibit hyperactivity and impulsivity and this can lead to a misdiagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

Just like a child child with ADHD may also have sensory processing difficulties and this can lead to a misdiagnosis of sensory processing disorder.  A study by the STAR Institute for Sensory Processing Disorder found that 40% of children diagnosed with ADHD also had sensory processing difficulties.

Both sensory processing disorder and 
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder can have a significant impact on a child's life. Children with sensory processing differences may struggle with everyday activities and this can cause them significant frustration and anxiety. They may have difficulties socializing and engaging in play with their friends too but children who have ADHD may struggle in school and have trouble forming friendships due to their impulsive and hyperactive behaviors.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and sensory differences can be managed when a child receives a diagnosis and is being treated. Occupational therapy is the most common approach for treating sensory differences because it focuses on helping children develop strategies to cope with sensory challenges. 

This may include sensory activities that stimulate or desensitize the child's senses. These sensory activities will be scheduled in a child's sensory diet that will be created by an OT for your child's specific sensory needs. Medication may also be prescribed to manage symptoms such as anxiety or hyperactivity.

Children who struggle with 
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, a combination of medication and behavioral therapy is often recommended. Medications can possibly help your child to improve attention and reduce impulsivity and hyperactivity. Behavioral therapy can help children develop coping strategies.

It is so important to get an evaluation for your child to accurately diagnose sensory processing disorder or ADHD. A child psychologist or a pediatric occupational therapist can provide an assessment for your child. 




Sensory Processing Disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder are two conditions that are often misdiagnosed and not understood. SPD and ADHD are disorders that affect children and can have a significant impact on their lives.

They are two distinct disorders with different symptoms and treatments. Sensory processing disorder affects how the brain processes and responds to sensory input from our environments and surroundings. 

Children with sensory processing differences  may be over-responsive or under-responsive to different sensory input which will cause them difficulties when processing sensory input. ADHD  is a disorder that is distinguished by inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity.







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.

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