ADHD and Sensory Processing Disorder: How Are They Different?


We have written extensively about ADHD before. In this particular post however, we would like to talk about ADHD from the perspective of differentiating it from Sensory Processing Disorder.

So, let's jump right in!

In this blog, you’ll learn:

  • What is ADHD

  • Difference Between ADHD and Sensory Processing Disorder

  • What is Sensory Processing Disorder

According to a definition by WebMD, ADHD stands for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, a condition with symptoms such as inattentiveness, impulsivity, and hyperactivity. The symptoms differ from person to person. ADHD was formerly called ADD, or attention deficit disorder. Both children and adults can have ADHD, but the symptoms always begin in childhood. Adults with ADHD may have trouble managing time, being organized, setting goals, and holding down a job.

ADHD is typically discovered during the early stages of a child's life, especially when they begin attending school and are ostensibly unable to pay attention. Statistics have shown that ADHD is more commonly seen in boys than in girls.

We have found that several parents confuse ADHD with sensory processing difficulties. Let’s drill down into the differences between both:

But first, what is Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)?

We have 21 senses. Of these five stand out - sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell. It is a known fact that the brain controls our senses. Sensory Processing Disorder surfaces when the brain has trouble understanding, receiving and responding to senses. Sensory Processing Disorder, as its name implies, is a condition where an alignment of senses and their processing is missing. The whole process of the brain receiving and sending signals through senses is not performed properly. Children or adults with SPD are sensitive to their surroundings. Certain sounds may seem agonizing and overwhelming, even a slight touch can alter their mood drastically. They may either behave with over- or under-sensitivity.

How is ADHD different from Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)?

There is always a slight concern when trying to understand and diagnose children’s developmental areas of need. Incorrect diagnoses can sometimes have grave consequences. That’s why we believe it is important for parents to be able to distinguish between both disorders in a more well-informed manner.

First, let us reiterate the fact that ADHD is related to behavior while SPD is related to senses.

There are certain behavioral differences that demarcate the two:

If your child has been diagnosed with either ADHD or SPD, you can help him/her cope better with the following tips.

Finally, please do take special note of the fact that that both ADHD and SPD require need special attention both from you, as well as a professional pediatrician or clinical psychologist. If you’d like to learn more about various treatments available, please do not hesitate to contact us.

#ADHD #AttentionDeficit #AttentionDeficitHyperactivityDisorder #SensoryProcessing #SPD

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