Mother has questions about Sensory Processing Disorder

The following excerpt was posted on the A Little Bit Different: Tourette Syndrome Facebook page, which is run by RuthieP — a blogger for Teens4TS. The excerpt is from a mother named Brandy, who has a question about her daughter and sensory processing issues. Can anyone help her out?

Can anyone on this page tell me more about Sensory Processing Disorder? We know Ansley does have some sensory issues. She has never been diagnosed with SPD, and I am not sure if I should get a diagnosis. Why might I need a diagnosis if I believe she has this? Are there pros or cons medically for a diagnosis? What type of doctor would she need to see in order to get the diagnosis?

On another note, she has the regular thoughts or feelings of things not feeling good as far as clothing goes. Coats that are heavy are not comfortable, 3/4 sleeves are NOT comfortable, bows in the hair are not allowed, and jeans have to feel just right in the waist, etc…

However, I have since learned that when she gets a small scrape, she acts like it is a horrible cut, and that could quite possibly be a sensory issue as well. Also, she gets very, very hot in the car but it is ONLY in the car and is almost always while I am driving (and rarely when my husband drives….HMMM). She also gets nauseated and vomits in the car at times but does not get nauseated on merry-go-rounds, ferris wheels, roller coasters, swings, etc… I read this could also be a sensory issue.

I wanted to hear others’ take on these things and opinions, as well as what other sensory issues your viewers may have. The reason I am curious is because for so long I thought my daughter was overly dramatic (I know, bad mom award for that), but I am learning it may be sensory processing disorder.

Can anyone tell me how I would know the difference between SPD and car sickness, etc?? Any advice or insight is greatly appreciated!! I should say I feel like every day I am learning something new!


  1. Hello. I am an OTA with over 14 years of pediatric experience primarily with children with special needs. My supervisor requested that I contact you with information that may be useful. Hopefully, you will find it helpful. Reading your descriptions of your daughters reactions to various situations, it does sound as though Sensory Processing Disorder could be a possibility. I am not a physician, but, if you are fortunate to have a good pediatrician, he/she should be able to make that diagnosis. i would then ask for a referal to an Occupational Therapist experienced in this area of OT. Along with working on her sensory difficulties, the therapist can recommend accommodations for school environment so that she can function to the best of her ability. Our bodies are designed to take in sensory information, process that information, and then respond. Our senses included not only taste, smell, sight and hearing, but also vestibular (movement) and proprioceptive (where our bodies are in space) awareness. If the registration and/or processing is askew, the response will be inappropriate to the stimuli, I.e. your description of her response to a minor scrape. I highly recommend the book Raising A Sensory Smart Child by Lindsey Biel, M.A., OTR/L and Nancy Peske. It is a practical book for parents and easy to understand. It provides extremely useful information to help you understand and to help your daughter navigate our sensory filled world.

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