Is Your Child's Tantrum Due to Sensory Processing Disorder?

Playing A Mom Shares Her Struggles Dealing with Her Son’s Sensory Processing Disorder

Every child has a tantrum occasionally but for mom Diana, her son's tantrums are connected to a diagnosed health condition.

She explains at 18 months her son Bhodi was diagnosed with sensory processing disorder (SPD), a condition in which the brain has trouble receiving and responding to information that comes in through the senses. Diana shares that having a child with SPD presents a slew of challenges. To make life easiest for her son, they follow a routine in order to avoid tantrums, but she says the meltdowns still occur daily. She says things like a food's texture can be a real challenge for him and shares he's also resistant to things like taking a bath, brushing his teeth, and using toothpaste. Her son also experiences anxiety around loud noises in public settings, like restrooms.

Watch: Creative and Fun Tactic to Stop a Child's Temper Tantrum

"SPD really limits my son. It creates this anxiety and fearfulness that's constantly present. You're always trying to make your kid happy and sometimes it's impossible," she tells The Doctors.

Clinical psychologist Dr. Judy Ho shares that SPD is often seen in people who are autistic, which Bhodi is also diagnosed with. She says it can involve hyperstimulation, where processing the senses can be overwhelming and can also manifest itself in the opposite way, where there is limited stimulation and the person seeks out sensations. Dr. Judy says SPD appears in 5 to 16 percent of children and will usually occur as a toddler.

Watch: Baby Refuses Bottle! Toddler Tantrums! What to Do?

In terms of treatment for Bhodi's SPD, Diana says they have been using occupational therapy and time in a sensory gym, that stimulates him with physical activity and provides sensory input. She says this work helped him speak for the first time and his first words were said while jumping on a trampoline.

The Doctors are happy to surprise Diana with swimming lessons from One with the Water and equine therapy from Special Spirit.


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