One in every six children has been diagnosed with a developmental disorder, such as attention deficit disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, autism and Asperger syndrome, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Even learning disabilities are just a few of the disorders on the list,” reports Batesville parent Lindsay Belew.
It is not uncommon that a child on the autism spectrum will also have additional challenges like obsessive compulsive disorder, oppositional defiant disorder and even sensory processing disorder (SPD).
Belew points out, “Specifically, SPD can look like a child with ‘bad behavior,’ but the underlying problem has to do with an inability to handle sensory stimuli (sights, smells, sounds, movements, textures). Crowded events, anxiety leaving home and even trouble with balance and motor skills can be some of the signs. The struggle to detect, organize or respond appropriately to these types of stimuli can be an indication that help is needed for a sensory processing disorder. According to the mother, requesting a free evaluation through the local hospital was the first step for some parents with these concerns.
Belew says, “In a small community like ours, it may surprise you to know that there are many children and families that face the challenges of these exact disorders. Some require around-the-clock care. Others are able to be “mainstreamed.” Spending time in our carpool lines or taking a trip to Liberty Park can easily lead to meeting a parent who desires the support and understanding of other parents working through the overwhelming needs of raising a child with these complex disorders.
“Often times, one or more siblings are diagnosed with the conditions that fall on the spectrum as well. The emotional, social, marital and financial difficulties that comes with parenting children with so many special needs is huge, not to mention the toll that it takes on the siblings who are ‘normal.’”