Is It Sensory Processing Disorder? Or Hypersensitivity?


My son is a very picky eater. He is very tactile and hates many kinds of textures. Could sensory processing disorder or hypersensitivity be causing this?

Dr. Larry Silver specializes in treating children with attention deficit disorder (ADHD).

Children with ADHD may also have Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). As part of this disorder, they might have difficulty with gross or fine motor skills, experience hypersensitivity, and/or have difficulty maintaining an upright position. Some children with this SPD are oversensitive to smell, taste, and textures.

If you notice that your son has difficulty with fine motor skills (coloring, cutting, handwriting), hand-eye coordination (catching, hitting a ball), or gross motor skills (clumsy walking gait, often trips), along with the tactile hypersensitivity, discuss these concerns with his family physician and school professionals.

An occupational therapist is trained in SPD, and can work with you to minimize these problems. If your son doesn’t show any of these symptoms, he might just be a picky eater.

For more information on Sensory Processing Disorder, check out:

Have a Seat: SPD Friendly Chairs for Kids

SPD and ADHD — What's the Connection?

For perspectives from other parents whose children may be dealing with sensory processing issues, check out ADDConnect

"I was pleasantly surprised to see that it’s fairly common to have SPD and ADHD!" in Glad We're Not Alone!

Larry Silver, M.D., is clinical professor of psychiatry at Georgetown Medical Center in Washington, D.C. and director of training in child and adolescent psychiatry at Georgetown University School of Medicine. He is a former acting director and deputy director of the National Institute of Mental Health, as well as the author of Dr. Larry Silver's Advice to Parents on AD/HD and The Misunderstood Child: Understanding and Coping with Your Child's Learning Disabilities.
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