Three Diagnoses, One Child: SPD, DCD, and Expressive Language Delays & What to Do Next
Sensory Processing Disorder, Developmental Coordination Disorder, and Expressive Language Delays, all attributed to your child.
Its true you’ve been looking for answers to the academic, behavioral, and social challenges your child is experiencing.
You may be relieved to finally receive a diagnosis.
But three diagnoses?
What does it all mean?
What can you to do to help your child navigate these challenges?
Where do you go from here to ensure your child is supported the best way possible?
First, you need to understand what you’re working with:
Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)
According to the Sensory Processing Disorder Foundation, this disorder affects up to 1 in 20 children. Children with SPD have a difficult time integrating the information sent from the nervous system to the brain and responding appropriately. Without the ability to organize the messages from his or senses well, your child finds it challenging, frustrating, and overwhelming to work through the “neurological traffic jam” in the brain.
Riding a bike, reading a book, and playing tag on the playground with other children are difficult to accomplish because the sensory experience is either too much or feels extremely underwhelming. Compromised motor skills, behavioral issues, anxiety, depression, and a lack of academic success often result.
Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD)
Noticeable trouble with the motor function that makes academic and daily life and interaction possible is a an indicator of this disorder. DCD significantly hampers activities like getting dressed, exercise or active play, and handwriting. It may exist independently, but, as with your child, it is often linked to learning disabilities and certain language challenges, or attention disorders.
Expressive Language Delays.
Developmental problems affecting a child’s ability to share, communicate, and express him- or herself through language, spoken or written, are considered expressive language delays. Your child likely struggles to string together a sentence or employ an appropriately varied vocabulary for his or her age.
Expressive language delays are not related to intelligence. In fact, your child may experience a great deal of frustration because he or she understands complex language quite well, but is unable to employ it.
Essentially, your child struggles with the following core issues:
- How he or she perceives the world through the senses
- How his or her body responds to the world
- How he or she communicates with the world.
For a child, challenges in all three areas are overwhelming. As a parent, there are things you can do to help your child feel more confident and capable:
- Be your child’s advocate and liaison. Work with the authority figures and educational team in your child’s life to assure the goal of meeting your child’s needs.
- To make headway in treating all three disorders, it is important to find tools and assistance that allow your child to practice new skills at home as well as in a dedicated learning environment.There are many web-based programs to use in conjunction with therapy sessions that make this possible.
- Research indicates that trouble with sensory integration, motor skills, and language development are all connected to brain timing. By embracing a technique like Interactive Metronome, in which the brain is “retrained,” you may find that all three disorders show improvement.
- Consider reading programs that assist language retraining too. Intensive reading software helps reinforce weak or faulty neural connections. The technology is used to support and correct the way the brain responds to language, helping to improve your child’s comprehension and fluency.
- Most important is your unconditional affirmation and support. Let your child know that his or her challenges are differences, not faults, that you’ll help him or her learn to manage.