Steps 1 – 6

You may wonder whether your child or a child you know has SPD. Entangled with that question may be a great deal of anxiety, denial, confusion, sadness, and pain. More important, you may feel overwhelmed about what to do now. “Where do I begin?” “What do I do first?” “Who do I call for an appointment?” “What’s involved in the evaluation process?”

This chapter will address the above questions, as well as other questions and concerns regarding the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment process.

Step 1: Make a List of Your Concerns: Think back as far as you can remember, and write down any and all your concerns about your child. If you have wondered about a behavior, had a gut feeling that something wasn’t right, or wondered whether your child’s reaction was “normal”, those are the kind of things you want to include in your list.

Step 2: Fill Out a Symptoms Checklist: (See our “Symptoms Checklist” tab)

Step 3: Get a Referral to an Occupational Therapist: Now that you have taken Steps 1 and 2, and you suspect that your child may have SPD, the next step is to call your pediatrician and ask for a referral to an occupational therapist.

This step should not be an uphill battle. You may be required to see the pediatrician and explain the need for the referral during an office visit. If, after such a visit, you are still unable to get a referral, you may wish to consider changing pediatricians. Although this can be a very difficult step to take, it may be the only way to get your insurance company to pay for the initial and subsequent occupational therapy visits.

Step 4: Educate Yourself about SPD: This is a journey you will have to take with your child into the terriorty of SPD. The more you know, the more prepared you are, and the more educated you become, the easier your journey will be. (Please continue to read the rest of our site for more information. Also see our tab’s “SPD Books for Adults” “SPD Books for Children” “Other SPD Websites” for additional resources.)

Step 5: Find an Occupational Therapist Trained to Assess and Treat SPD: This may be a more difficult task than one might imagine. Unfortunately, many families report tremendous problems finding an occupational therapist who has additional training in the diagnosis and treatment of SPD. Typically, there are many more resources in larger cities and areas near university programs with a medical school.

The important point is to have open communication with the [OT], to feel confident in his or her abilities, and to feel comfortable with that person.

Step 6: Connect with Community, Local Organizations, Other Families: Many families feel they are to blame for their child’s difficulties with sensory processing issues, despite SPD being a neurological disorder with impairments that are biologically based.

Some mothers report feeling like the “crazy mother” who has nothing better to do but go to the pediatrician’s office week after week. Extended family, in-laws, or community members may have criticized parental discipline as ineffective.

A fast and effective way to connect with others is through the Internet and online resources via parent forums and support groups, such as (There are also groups on Facebook. “Contact us” for more information).


The Ultimate Guide to Sensory Processing Disorder: Easy, Everyday Solutions to Sensory Challenges” by Roya Ostovar, Ph.D., is one of my very favorite books. The content below is selected copyrighted material from Chapter 5 called “Assessment, Diagnosis, And Treatment – Where To Begin”.

Would you like to read more? You can order this book online from Amazon. Please click the link to do so: