Sensory Processing Disorder UK
The trouble with Sensory Processing Disorder is that it seems to be quite a new term here in the UK. Unless things have changed, then there isn’t actually a diagnosis for it either. What is happening though is that the new DSM-V (which is used as a sort of checklist to diagnose) is that sensory issues are being added to the criteria for those on the Autistic Spectrum (as of course Asperger’s Syndrome no longer exists).
First of all I am no expert on Sensory Processing Disorder. In fact the term was never mentioned when I took my Bsc (Hons) Psychology degree over a decade ago. What I am is a mother who is passionate at understanding her child(ren) and finding the best ways I can support them. My son (The Sensory Seeker) is now 6 years old (this was published in May 2015) and through the right support has come on in leaps and bounds.
What Support is there for Sensory Processing Disorder in the UK?
First of all I saw the Health Visitor when The Sensory Seeker was approximately 2 and half years old. He then performed a test that showed our son had a Global Developmental Delay and explained that I could request a Statement of Special Educational needs myself (this is now changing to an EHCP – Education, Health and Care Plan). The Sensory Seeker was awarded full time one to one support on the basis of his needs. He did not have any sort of diagnosis in place at all. In fact we were really at the start of our assessment processes.
I applied for Disability Living Allowance. He was awarded within 3 weeks of sending off the paperwork. Again he had not received any diagnosis and he did not have his Statement in place. I did send in supporting documentation and explained what his difficulties were and how it meant that he was at a disadvantage compared to his peers.
We actually believed The Sensory Seeker to be on the Autistic Spectrum so went to see a Paediatrician. It was then that we first heard of Sensory Processing Disorder. The Sensory Seeker had just met her for the first time and we had to try to stop him from touching everything in sight (including rubbing his hands on the Paediatrician’s shiny tights!). We were then recommended some books to read which were incredibly helpful. One I definitely would say is a must read is The Out of Sync Child. Although there is no official diagnosis but she did write on correspondence that he has Sensory Processing Disorder.
We were then sent to Sensory Processing Disorder parent workshops where we were explained Sensory Processing Disorder in more detail, including day-to-day difficulties such as teeth brushing, hair washing, eating, wearing clothes, etc – and ways that we could help identify our individual children’s needs and help them. There were several occupational therapists available and they also had some tools (squeezy toys, weighted blankets, etc) that we could look at and consider if they may help. We were also sent e-mails on this information and had the opportunity to ask questions.
Since then the school where The Sensory Seeker goes has been a fantastic source of support. I think we have been very lucky because his Statement does not cover the additional help he needs and receives( his Statement is for 17 1/2 hrs a week). This is a mainstream school. He is still delayed but doing an excellent job of progressing.
Speech and Language Therapy helped him a great deal – but I think it depends again on the therapist. I personally wasn’t happy with the first one – not because she wasn’t helping him move forward in speech and language but that she would not listen to me about his additional needs.
Last but no means least, is the internet. There are several webpages (such as this one) & Facebook groups. And not forgetting that this has also been how we have found out about the many Relaxed Performances that have meant that The Sensory Seeker, and others like him, can enjoy shows that may have otherwise been too much.
If you think your child has Sensory Processing Disorder << read more there.
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