DSM-5 – Commenting on diagnostic recognition of SPD

The publishers of the 2013 revision of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-5) are soliciting public comments on including Sensory Processing Disorder. Following are suggestions and instructions for commenting.

The SPD Foundation is asking for your support by submitting a comment to the American Psychiatric Association supporting recognition of Sensory Processing Disorder in DSM-5. If you are the parent of a child with Sensory Processing Disorder, ask your physician, therapist, and others involved in your child’s care to comment as well. Comments from physicians, particularly child psychiatrists and researchers are especially needed.

Occupational therapists and others who treat SPD are encouraged to:

  • Ask every parent whose children you treat or have treated to comment on the DSM-5 website (see above for parents).
  • Ask every physician or psychologist you know to post a comment on the DSM website (see suggestions for physicians above).

Comment in ways such as the following:

  • Identify any advanced training you have received in assessing/treating sensory issues, especially a mentorship or advanced training in OT-SI.
  • Describe your professional experience including how long you have assessed/treated SPD and approximately what percentage of your clients present with it.
  • Discuss outcomes of treatment if you have been tracking them (any pre/post data that you have even if not a controlled trial).
  • Describe the functional symptoms* of the disorder and functional changes from treatment.
  • Discuss the impact of SPD on the child at home, at school, and in community activities; either impacts you have measured or that parents have described to you.
  • Write a short vignette – a personal success story illustrating the impact of appropriate treatment for children with SPD. If possible, include, reference, or encourage the parents of the child to tell the same story from their point of view.

* Functional impairments must occur for a condition to be considered a disorder in the DSM-5. Occupational therapists are in a perfect position to talk about functional problems such as social participation, self-regulation, self-esteem, and specific functional daily routines such as dressing, grooming, toileting, getting ready for school, getting ready for bedtime, sleep, eating, and transitions between activities or places.

Be sure to cite your professional credentials at the beginning of your comment. For further information on this campaign, click here.

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