The search for SPD

I've always known a little bit about Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) through my work and training around Autism and the sensory needs involved within the spectrum; however I never really saw sensory needs as a separate or self-contained issue, unrelated (in some ways) to Autism.

This has been until a boy within our setting arrived and displayed some clear sensory and processing needs. Skip ahead a few weeks later and I've become his mentor and am, really, the only one championing him and supporting his needs. By this point I've had numerous chats with his mum and trips to his house, numerous serious incidents in centre, countless mentoring sessions and therapeutic conversations, trips to the beach, police involvement, arguing his needs till I'm blue in the face, sitting in the rain for an hour after school alongside him listening and allowing him to process a horrendous incident that took place and not to mention I've developed a whole new interest in rap music from the tunes he blares in my car!! However, it is only now that I'm finally starting to understand Sensory Processing Disorder and the spectrum of needs that can appear from it.

I've also bought myself some books and have done much reading online, and I have to admit they have helped greatly.

Cat not included! 

As his Mentor, finding out more about SPD has really progressed my learning and involvement with this condition. Learning about the different sensory systems (Auditory, Olfactory, Oral, Proprioceptive, Tactile, Vestibular and Visual) and if behaviours are due to over-stimulation, under-stimulation or sensory seeking, has allowed me to tailor specific activities to our sessions together that can help him regulate his feelings around certain senses and to meet any sensory seeking needs. 

By far the most important aspect though is having an awareness of this condition and being able to inform other staff members of the key signs and strategies that can be used when one of our students presents with SPD or has other similar sensory needs.

Through making others at my school aware of SPD and the needs associated with it, we have progressed with this boy and are slowly working towards meeting his needs and have lots of professionals now involved to support him where appropriate. I still see his mum numerous times a week, I still have countless mentoring sessions and therapeutic talks with him, we still have occasional incidents, we still go to the beach and I still have to listen to his rap music! 😊


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