Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder vs. Sensory Processing Disorder

Girl Laying Down Head on Desk

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) are two separate, but similar, conditions common in both children and adults. And around 40 to 60% of children diagnosed with one disorder have symptoms of the other. 

Only a professional can diagnose ADHD and SPD

So, does your child have ADHD, or SPD … or both?  

Even if someone suffers from both disorders, it’s important to know the difference. They have different symptoms and methods of treatment. 

ADHD has three subtypes: hyperactive impulsive, inattentive, and both hyperactive impulsive and inattentive. The ADHD child has trouble focusing, is easily distracted, has trouble staying on task, and is often fidgety, restless, or impulsive. A child with SPD may display similar symptoms — especially the restlessness and distractibility — however, there are actual physiological differences between the two. 

{ MORE: Sensory Processing Disorder }

Sensory Processing Disorder is the inability to appropriately interpret sensory information. It can affect one sense, or several, and can concern an over-sensitivity, or under-sensitivity. This inability to process sensory information distracts the child, making it seem like ADHD. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, ADHD affects about 9% of the children in America, and 4% of adults. According to the Sensory Processing Disorder Foundation, at least 5% of children are affected by SPD and possibly as many as 1 in 6 . The causes of ADHD and SPD are both unclear and seem to be a combination of genetics and other factors.

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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder vs. Sensory Processing Disorder

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3 comments

  1. Krystal says:

    read an article about alternative therapy for adhd. An hr a day in a natural setting appears to have the same benefits as medications, without the sideeffects. Walks in the park, woods, or the like. Works for my husband & his god-brother

  2. LIZ says:

    this is one things that scares me because i dont want to give my kid so many medications

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