In fact, there is some relationship between sensory processing disorder and autism. Many children with autistic spectrum disorders also have sensory processing disorder, and some experts actually consider sensory processing disorder to be part of the autistic spectrum.Hmmmm, very interesting. Here's the good part:
Both children with autistic spectrum disorders and those with sensory processing disorder show difficulties with high-level tasks involving the integration of different brain areas. These include complex sensory (e.g. vision, hearing, position, alance, motion and touch) and motor functions and also emotional regulation. Typically, though, the deficits seen in children with sensory processing disorder are "patchier" than those seen in children with autism, with greater sparing of higher order functions in areas like language, social affiliation, and empathy.So, let's recap. According to The Mislabeled Child, SPD is superficially similar to autism with respect to behaviors, it may or may not actually be on the spectrum and, behind the behaviors, it's pretty much the same, only "patchier" and sparing of higher order functions.
Now, if I apply the Mislabeled Child paradigm to Brad, he probably falls under SPD. I think he has "affiliative drive", and he definitely has good mirroring skills, which would indicate he's not autistic, as per The Mislabled Child. Moreover, Brad has what the book describes as the physical manifestations of SPD. Of diagnosing SPD, the authors write:
Among the most common findings we see on exam are difficulties with finger-position sense, finger confusion, gross- and fine-motor coordination, low skeletal tone (especially of the core or postural muscles in the trunk and neck), difficulties with visual motor control and visual processing, and difficulties with auditory processing.Brad has each of these physical issues. And that's not just my subjective opinion; these difficulties were observed by his developmental pediatrician (the second one, not the first one we kicked to the curb) and the school district. To clarify, these are also signs of DCD or dyspraxia, which itself is a symptom of SPD.