Using electro-dermal activity and vagal tone as dependent measures, researchers at the SPD Foundation tested reactivity to various sensory stimuli across groups of children. (Miller, 2001; Schaff, et al, 2003) Children with SOR demonstrated:
- Greater sympathetic responses (e.g., fight-or-flight responses) to stimuli
- Weaker parasympathetic responses (e.g., the system that regulates us back to calm states, or homeostasis)
Preliminary studies of children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Pervasive Developmental Disorders suggest different physiologic markers, supporting SPD as a valid syndrome separate from these other conditions that share symptoms. Further research at the SPD Foundation is likely to facilitate differential diagnosis between these developmental disorders and disabilities. Until SPD is included in the DSM and acknowledged universally among healthcare practitioners, many of the one million children estimated to be affected by the disorder will go untreated.
About the Author
Jennifer Jo Brout-Lynn, Ed.M., Psy.D., is a school/clinical child psychologist focusing on how Sensory Processing Disorders (SPD) impact mental health. She earned an Ed.M. from Columbia University and a Psy.D. from Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Currently, Dr. Brout is involved with projects at the KID Foundation Research Institute and Duke University and is in association with audiologists and private clinicians throughout the country. In 2006, Dr. Brout launched Positive Solutions of NY, LLC to support research on psychological conditions, developmental disorders, and learning difficulties through various creative and public service projects. Dr. Brout is also the mother of 13-year-old triplets and is on the advisory board of Mothers of Supertwins (M.O.S.T), a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting and researching multiple-birth children/families. She writes a quarterly column, “Ask the School Psychologist,” for M.O.S.T. which addresses the concerns of parents of school-aged multiple-birth children.