NEWSFLASH: Adults have SPD too

This post contains information that NEEDS to be said. Warning: the following may cause epiphany, sudden awakening of the soul, and Oprah’s “ah-ha” moment. Proceed with caution.

Approximately 93% – I just calculated that statistic in my mind – of all information on sensory issues, both in print and online, are geared towards children.

For a while, that knowledge left me feeling like this:

NOT SURE IF FRY

One of the main reasons I started this blog was due to the near absence of information and resources for adults with SPD on the web or in books. The only exception to this would be a few blogs, and Sharon Heller’s Too Loud, Too Bright, Too Fast, Too Tight, which has become the bible for sensory-plagued adults. Unfortunately, SPD adults often find ourselves reading sensory books geared towards children, and attempting to relate the information to our adult lives. It can be awkward.

potty training

not relevant

Like many neurological disorders, sensory processing disorder does not go away with time.

A fun fact is that according to many medical “professionals,” children with sensory processing disorder just learn to live with their problems, or they simply grow out of the disorder.

At age 13, many people – including myself – were turned away from occupational therapists for the sole reason that we were too old to be treated for our sensory issues.

I remember asking my mom, with confusion, “What’s the difference if I’m 12 or 13? I still have the same disorder. I still need help for this.” Momsy didn’t know what to say, and she couldn’t have known.

Here is what I know: growing out of something is for clothing. People grow out of sweaters. People do not usually grow out of neurological conditions. They manage it and – in the case of SPD –  learn ways to live within their specific limitations. SPD can regulated with various therapies (occupational, physical, or psychological), but there is no cure for it just yet. However, this leaves us SPD adults with many problems.

same person

It leaves us feeling a strange sense of being “unwelcome.” Adults are not the target group, if you will, for awareness and research. SPD adults are very much ignored and neglected by the medical community. We often feel a sense of guilt for even asking for/seeking out help from professionals. We are given this look when we mention SPD to our doctors:

wut

This is not Hogwarts, my friends. SPD cannot be sent away with the flick of a wand, nor does it magically vanish when we turn 18. It is not fair or right that adults with neurological conditions such as sensory processing disorder are left in the dark simply because they are adults.

As an adult with SPD, I can assure you that my sensory problems are here to stay (for now). I’ve overcome many of my sensory struggles from my childhood – yes. However, newer and more overwhelming challenges have reared their ugly faces into my life as an adult with this condition.

Due to the belief that SPD is a disorder of childhood – WHICH WE GENIUSES KNOW TO BE FALSEanother belief now exists that there are no adults with SPD at all. Because of this idea that adults don’t have SPD, it is not recognized by our society, and therefore, we cannot get help or respect.

SO WHERE ARE ALL THE ADULTS WITH SPD?

I’ll tell you where they are. They are struggling to find their place in a world that doesn’t work with their sensory system.  Without acknowledgement from our community regarding this conundrum, we find ourselves turned off by the world.

helloworld

herrow

Moral of the story is this:

Adults with SPD are out there.  We are here! (Well, not really. We are actually trying to avoid the entire world while simultaneously being part of the entire world. It’s a tad complicated.)
Spread awareness and educate your fellow human beans that, in fact, adults with neurological condition DO exist. We need your compassion and respect in order to overcome our challenges.

xo kelly

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10 comments

  1. I almost jumped for joy when I found your blog a few days ago. I was all, “another sensory adult?! Someone who doesn’t write child-aimed sensory stuff?!? HALLELUJAH!!!” And you’re right. I was diagnosed with SPD when I was 11 and even then, most of the “advice” was for people much younger than me. And the place I went for occupational therapy specialized in children younger than me. I couldn’t even fit on most of the equipment. And I was rejected at 13. But guess what? I still have spacial awareness problems. I still have trouble finding sensory-friendly clothing. I still feel horrendous pain when I hear loud noises. The only difference is that I don’t melt down in public. I run to a private area and have my meltdown there.

    1. Hi there! It is always exciting meeting new people online that have so much in common. I wish the medical community could understand and respect the fact that SPD is a huge problems for adults too. Like, can’t an adult go on a swing and dangle from playground equipment without being stared at by strangers?! *sigh*

  2. Great post- had a mid-read google and read of Sharon Heller’s site and now I really want to get her book. I too always have that sense of guilt thing when asking/seeking any help, to the point where I have such a great fear to go to the doctor’s that I haven’t been in a long long time, despite having several issues.

    Also love that you are able to calculate difficult statistics in your mind- I too have been known to do this. AND also love the “same person only bigger” picture. You seriously should have a “picture/humor/memoir” book out on SPD, I would definitely buy it.

    1. I think when it comes to finding professional/medical help, it’s all about finding that “right” person. I’ve been to countless doctors who are giant turd faces, and the whole experience emotionally drains me. When you find the right doctor, who you will be able to confide in and trust, the whole experience will make you say, “why haven’t I done this sooner?! I feel like a turd face!”
      As for the book thing, I have very much considered it, but it seems like such an overwhelming undertaking….perhaps in the near future….if my stars are aligned, I’ll do a book. 🙂

  3. At 67 my SPD is getting worse not better. As brain circuits start to fade the problems get bigger not smaller. I have hypersensitivity issues and could easily retreat to my computer cave. But that would be too easy…. Hooray for Temple Grandin.

  4. Your cartoons make me laugh and cry at the same time. Oh they’re wonderful
    I’ve struggled all my life and only had SPD dropped on me recently cos I’m going through a period of extreme stress that last time I went through something similar led to electrolyte depletion from constant vomiting and then cardiac arrest – at thirty years of age. So yeah my GP is useless – he knows I’m sick but he’s somewhere between the camp of ‘she’s exaggerating’ to ‘mystery ailment’ – my my cognitive therapist referred me to an OT since she knows me well and realised that my problems were not originated from mental or emotional issues
    Thank you
    I am so grateful to have found this blog cos ha, yeah I’ve found that there’s no much for adults

    1. Thanks for writing to me! I’ve also had my fair share of experiences with terrible, ignorant doctors…so I feel you! There is little info for adults with SPD, but slowly it is beginning to emerge. I’m surprised you found an OT willing to see you. Many adults I know struggling with sensory issues are hard pressed to find an OT at all. I hope you are able to get the help you need, and I’m very glad you found my blog 🙂

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