ABC’s of SPD – D is for Distractions

I’m posting my Blogging through the Alphabet super late this week. I hope to be back on schedule next week. I’ve been quite a mess, which is rather fitting for today’s post! If you’re just joining me, I will be Blogging through the Alphabet with Ben and Me and many other bloggers who are offering a wide variety of topics. I will share a new topic related to Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) each week as we blog through the alphabet.

D is for Distractions

ABC's of SPD - D is for Distractions - SPD and Distractions

Sensory Processing Disorder can sometimes get misdiagnosed as ADD or ADHD. This is a very common misdiagnosis is children, but it’s actually a common misdiagnosis in adults as well. One of the first tentative diagnoses I was given was ADD. Adults with SPD are often given a combination of diagnoses like ADD/ADHD, OCD and even personality disorders. I was given a “might be” with all three of them until you roll it all together and realize the symptoms I exhibited for each are all exhibited in an adult with SPD. To add to the confusion, it’s not uncommon for someone with SPD to also have ADD or ADHD.

Why, though, is it so common to receive a misdiagnosis of ADD/ADHD when it’s simply SPD? Distractions.

Many people with SPD have a hard time focusing on one thing when there are other environmental factors around them to which they are sensitive. This could be sound, touch, light, etc. Why am I writing a blog at 4:20 in the morning? Well, besides not being able to sleep, I work best when it’s completely quiet. I have a difficult time focusing on what I’m doing when there are sounds around me. In fact, I start to feel so overwhelmed I actually get really moody and irritated.

Our daughter is the same way except as a six-year-old she has a hard time holding in her emotions and can end up having a meltdown rather quickly. While homeschooling I make sure I minimize these type of distractions as much as I can so she can focus on her work without feeling overwhelmed. I have sometimes even had to separate the older two children into different rooms while they’re working on Math because they both *have* to solve problems out loud, and when they’re both doing that in the same room it is a bad combination!

Being easily distracted is also why I have been an unorganized mess for the past two weeks. I have SO much on my plate I can’t focus on one specific thing and so I do little bits of everything just to end up more behind and more stressed out. It gets overwhelming looking at everything, trying to decide what to “conquer,” and realizing at the end of the day you completed nothing.

Likewise, I acknowledge that our kids are easily distracted, so I have to work hard to keep them on task during our homeschool day. I’ve shared some tips on avoiding sensory overload while homeschooling that help us (including myself) stay on task.

Sometimes, though, I realize that they’re doing the best that they can with the challenges they have, and I make sure to give them grace. It is something I need to work on giving myself as well!

ABC Blogging

Don’t forget to check out the other bloggers as well who have linked up to Blogging through the Alphabet! There are a wide variety of topics from completely random to very specific.

Ben and Me

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  1. This would be hard to tell. I think everyone has problems with distractions. There is a fine line between a disorder and normal distraction. It is good that you know this and you can work on it and perceive it in your children. Be aware of the problem is the first way to make it better. I used to think I was organized. I am in many ways but lately I am all over the place. I think blogging is all over the place. Thanks for sharing and I will have to pay attention to this one. Great article for sure!!

  2. Debbie Welchert says

    I have five grandchildren and all of them have something wrong with them. They are still being diagnosed. Two are really bad with their tempers. Hopefully the doctors can get something figured out and help them.

  3. Jennifer Hiles says

    This is very interesting information. I can imagine it would be very hard to diagnose, especially in children. I feel like my daughter may have one of these disorders but she just turned 3 so it’s hard to tell. I know her father was diagnosed with ADHD or ADD when he was a child. I just figured by now that she would be interested in watching Disney movies but they don’t hold her attention long enough. Myself, I go nuts if the tv is on, the radio is on and people are talking at the same time!

  4. I love this series and will share it when others ask me about SPD! I used to post a lot about SPD, but took a break from doing so as I, admittedly, took a break from almost everything dx related with my son save for actually parenting him. After throwing myself into tons of reading, therapies, etc. and then getting frustrated with some of the local professionals, my husband and I decided to go on hiatus from formal therapies and dx stuff. It has worked for us, but, of course, we still integrate much of what we learned during my intense phase of research and discovery and always share with others who ask for help. Beautiful that you are sharing here.
    Martianne Stanger recently posted…Teaching Virtues to Young Ones with Ease {A Little Lads and Ladies Review and Giveaway}My Profile

    • I have been there. With our oldest we went through so many professionals and misdiagnoses before finally getting the Autism Spectrum Diagnosis. The younger two having SPD actually came more easily, but SPD alone isn’t really recognized as a disorder needing therapy alone, so we did have to push quite a bit to get them in therapy. Since we moved in October, though, they haven’t been in therapy. I try to naturally incorporate it into our homeschooling day, but I am trying to find an OT that does support a natural approach. ­čÖé
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