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Theories on root causes?

post #1 of 77
Thread Starter 
I've encountered so many mothers on this board who are very knowledgable about SPD and I'm just curious - what are your theories about what causes SPD, or what caused it in your child?

Have you heard any theories from your pediatrician, or speech therapist, or OT, or others?
post #2 of 77
Genetics. I don't think there is a cause, its just how the brain is wired.
post #3 of 77
I think it's genes too. I see a lot of my own sensory issues in both my boys (they got a mix actually-one like me in some ways and the other in ton of other ways). When it comes to propriceptive issues--something one son has in spades--it seems a lot of those kiddos are low muscle tone. I think the muscle tone issues has a variety of causes--brain, metabolic, etc.
post #4 of 77
Please excuse my generalizations, I understand that not all SPD is Autism, but they are often coupled, and this is the only experience I have, so I will just address Autism Related SP issues.

In Autism and Autism Related neurological function (like SPD) this issue was explained largely in 2004 and then revisited in 2006 with brain imaging.

Autistic people have different pathways from neurotypical people (physical structure is different). Some areas are OVERconnected, some areas are Underconnected (when compared to "typical" people). Basically there are certain things that autistic people experience more intensly than other people some things they experience less intensly. This is not an abstract psychological analysis of emotional response, I am talking about electrochemically, as in this is not just a perception that some things are more intense and some less than typical.

Furthermore Autistic people have often been shown to have abnormally abundant glial cells, which are the non-neuro cells that make nourish and sustain the brain. This abundance of "capacity" coupled with extremes of sensation/thought are what I believe to be the cause of "savant" abilities, and their associated deficits, it is not a hard stretch to assume that if some types of thoughts/sensations are electro-chemically more severe in autistics they would be harder for a developing mind to decode and use in a productive way.... Hence the "disorder" portion of SPD.

Disclaimer, this is me (a novice) connecting very thin dots to come to my own conclusions.
post #5 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by ShaggyDaddy View Post
Please excuse my generalizations, I understand that not all SPD is Autism, but they are often coupled, and this is the only experience I have, so I will just address Autism Related SP issues.

In Autism and Autism Related neurological function (like SPD) this issue was explained largely in 2004 and then revisited in 2006 with brain imaging.

Autistic people have different pathways from neurotypical people (physical structure is different). Some areas are OVERconnected, some areas are Underconnected (when compared to "typical" people). Basically there are certain things that autistic people experience more intensly than other people some things they experience less intensly. This is not an abstract psychological analysis of emotional response, I am talking about electrochemically, as in this is not just a perception that some things are more intense and some less than typical.

Furthermore Autistic people have often been shown to have abnormally abundant glial cells, which are the non-neuro cells that make nourish and sustain the brain. This abundance of "capacity" coupled with extremes of sensation/thought are what I believe to be the cause of "savant" abilities, and their associated deficits, it is not a hard stretch to assume that if some types of thoughts/sensations are electro-chemically more severe in autistics they would be harder for a developing mind to decode and use in a productive way.... Hence the "disorder" portion of SPD.

Disclaimer, this is me (a novice) connecting very thin dots to come to my own conclusions.
In other words... brain wiring... not an outside "cause". lol. I love your description ShaggyDaddy.
post #6 of 77
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sbgrace View Post
When it comes to propriceptive issues...it seems a lot of those kiddos are low muscle tone. I think the muscle tone issues has a variety of causes--brain, metabolic, etc.
I've seen this correlation, as well. It's something I definitely want to find more information about. Thanks.

Thanks to all other responses. This is very interesting to read.
post #7 of 77
I don't know, but I do see a lot of issues in DS that are similar to mine or my mom's, only his issues seem to be magnified. With his personality, he tends to direct his needs outwards (screaming for something), whereas when I was young I tended to focus inwards and not ask/scream for anything.
post #8 of 77
Theories on root causes of sensory processing disorder?
I don’t know, I am no expert, just a mama with a ds (10) who has SPD, not autism..
I think there can be different reasons for SPD.
One possibility is early reoccurring ear infections. One of our occupational therapists pointed this out and I believe this is at least in part what happened to my son.
DS’s main problem is coordination, motor skills although he was also sensitive to touch or was tactile defensive. He was not as bad as some descriptions I’ve read about.
Anyway I noticed with ds from one day to the next when he was around 2 he suddenly did not want to swing, go on the slide or climbing structure on the playground. He used to like them but one day it stopped. He would just play on the ground with his trucks and talk to the other parents.
I did not know about SPD. Fast forward almost 5 years and ds was diagnosed with delayed motor skills caused by a disorder in sensory processing. Ds started occupational therapy. When I told the therapist about what happend she said his vestibular system might gone off because of ear infections. Because of this he did not do enough physical activities that children usually do to develop their motor skills so therefore he had a delay.
This is hard for me to explain. I don’t know if I have made any sense.
I think this could be very true for my son who by the way has gotten a lot better thanks to a lot of occupational therapy, martial arts, brain gym and other physical activities.
post #9 of 77
My working theory is birth trauma. My LO's first sensation of touch was being yanked out of the womb (the cord had gotten pinched and her heartrate had gone way, way down, so the midwife manually dialated me and pulled her out) before she was ready, and she didn't get to do all the work of squeezing herself through the birth canal. She had significant oral hypersensitivity, which I think is from the vagus nerve getting pinched during that process.
post #10 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by 3girlmom View Post
My working theory is birth trauma. My LO's first sensation of touch was being yanked out of the womb (the cord had gotten pinched and her heartrate had gone way, way down, so the midwife manually dialated me and pulled her out) before she was ready, and she didn't get to do all the work of squeezing herself through the birth canal. She had significant oral hypersensitivity, which I think is from the vagus nerve getting pinched during that process.
But then, what about the large majority of babies born with birth trauma or through cesarian, forceps, etc, who have typical neurology and nervous systems?
post #11 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by 3girlmom View Post
She had significant oral hypersensitivity, which I think is from the vagus nerve getting pinched during that process.
Interesting thought on oral hypersensitivity. My DS had oral defensiveness from day 1. I suspect he also had vagus nerve issues, as he had lots and lots of hiccups, both in utero and for months after birth. He had torticollis, likely from how he was positioned for many weeks in utero. I wonder if the torticollis caused his vagus nerve issues.
post #12 of 77
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by 3girlmom View Post
She had significant oral hypersensitivity, which I think is from the vagus nerve getting pinched during that process.
Quote:
Originally Posted by KimPM View Post
Interesting thought on oral hypersensitivity. My DS had oral defensiveness from day 1. I suspect he also had vagus nerve issues, as he had lots and lots of hiccups, both in utero and for months after birth. He had torticollis, likely from how he was positioned for many weeks in utero. I wonder if the torticollis caused his vagus nerve issues.
Wow. Thank you very much for posting this, both of you.
post #13 of 77
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by 3girlmom View Post
My working theory is birth trauma. My LO's first sensation of touch was being yanked out of the womb (the cord had gotten pinched and her heartrate had gone way, way down, so the midwife manually dialated me and pulled her out) before she was ready, and she didn't get to do all the work of squeezing herself through the birth canal. She had significant oral hypersensitivity, which I think is from the vagus nerve getting pinched during that process.
I'm still working on my theories, but we also had birth trauma, as well as some in utero trauma.
post #14 of 77
I don't know how to explain it in other births...it's just my working theory on my LO. She also had torticollis, actually. We did (and do) a ton of cranial sacral work and chiropractic work, and she wouldn't let either practitioner anywhere near that area.

She also has Turner's Syndrome, which is associated with an increased risk of SPD, although no one has been able to explain to me why.
post #15 of 77
I was wondering about a lack of Omegas during brain developement. My first dd has pretty severe SPD. When she was 4 months old, my naturopath told me that she was low on Omegas and had been since way back in utero. I don't eat much that had omegas. So I started to supplement. My dd2 has signicantly milder SPD and I did better during pregnancy taking omegas, but not awesome because of morning sickness. I've heard that giving children with SPD omegas can help them out, so I wondered about this.
post #16 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kristine233 View Post
Genetics. I don't think there is a cause, its just how the brain is wired.
That's not always true...

Both of my children have SPD, for two different reasons. My son has SPD and Autism--his SPD is probably genetic (I have some odd sensory issues too, but not to the extent of his--his probably are a bit worse because of the autism co-diagnosis). Or, his could have been the result of his birth (53 hour pitocin induction, the last 10 with an epidural, 2 failed vacuum attempts and one successful one).

My daughter has SPD (along with auditory processing issues, RAD, and PTSD) and spent the first four months of her life in an orphanage, deprived of any stimulation (besides the sound of screaming babies)--no toys, no real interaction, just laying on a hard platform staring at the ceiling for 4 months. Her SPD was most likely environmental due to a lack of stimulation as an infant.
post #17 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by kchoffmann View Post
But then, what about the large majority of babies born with birth trauma or through cesarian, forceps, etc, who have typical neurology and nervous systems?
Every baby is different, and every baby responds differently. It's the same as how some mothers will be able to have a natural birth and some mothers feel the pain so intensly that they can not. Or some individuals can survive a trauma without manifesting as PTSD where others can experience the exact same thing and develop PTSD.
post #18 of 77
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by AllyRae View Post
Every baby is different, and every baby responds differently. It's the same as how some mothers will be able to have a natural birth and some mothers feel the pain so intensly that they can not. Or some individuals can survive a trauma without manifesting as PTSD where others can experience the exact same thing and develop PTSD.


What I've learned, particularly from my labor and delivery experience, is that you just can not compare things such as pain or trauma. How can we know what we went through was exactly the same as what someone else went through, even if it was the same type of event.

One woman's labor is not the same as another woman's labor. You can't compare the two, so it makes sense to me that you can't compare births.
post #19 of 77
I've had this conversation IRL and ended feeling really hurt and upset. But I'll try again cause I think I've toughened up enough. What upset me was a friend who suggested that I boiled my child's brain. Yes, that's possible. I spent two weeks on vacation when I was (unknowingly) about 8-10 weeks pregnant, practically living in the hot tub. Ok, so that's possible, I suppose. Is it not (at least) just as likely that he is just simply geneticly this way, seeing that a good portion of his relatives are neurologically diverse, some very clearly having struggled in the same was as him? maybe? Or maybe I'm at fault for boiling his brains. The unfortunate things is that after hearing this theory I searched the Internet and found plenty of people with "facts" to back it up. I walked around believe this garbage for a long time.

I mean, I'm not saying hot tub exposure left my child completely unharmed, but he is who he is, I didn't make him that way, yk?
post #20 of 77
Just like spd and autism don't always present the same, I feel that there can be different causes. There is definately a genetic link, but i think this can be stronger in some children than others. I think some children may be more prone to certain things and then environmental explosures can push over into symptoms showing up.
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