Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Oprah Show Features SPD

From the SPD Foundation's website. Please read, share, and act!

Dear Friends of the Foundation,

On Friday February 18, the Oprah Show had an exclusive story titled, “The 7-Year-Old Who Tried to Kill His Mother,” a frightening, yet true story of young Zach and his mother, Laurie.

“Sensory integration disorder was Zach’s first diagnosis and that has to do with how Zach perceived his world," Laurie stated on the show. "So he was incredibly sensitive to everything. He would do things like throw himself on the ground, thrash his body, where a normal kid, it would hurt, and he would get pleasure. He would laugh. Sound bothered him. Light, clothing, that sort of thing, and everything was accentuated 10 or 15 times of what a normal person would experience. That's what sensory is.”

Zach has a variety of mental health disorders. The initial diagnosis mentioned by Oprah was “sensory integration disorder.” The majority of the show focused on the tough challenges of his mental illness and the family’s journey. Zach is currently in a residential therapeutic school in New Hampshire that specializes in alternative approaches to helping children like Zach.

Sensory Integration Disorder (also called Sensory Processing Disorder) was not explained in depth, nor was Zach’s mental health diagnoses, leaving the impression that children with a diagnosis of SPD may be inclined to rage attacks that could lead to attempts to kill others. We have received a plethora of letters from parents and others who are frustrated and puzzled by the Oprah show.

Although clearly there is a misunderstanding about what Sensory Processing Disorder/Sensory Integration Disorder is, this constitutes a great opportunity for all of us who care abut the disorder to finally bring it to the attention of the Oprah Show. We have been trying to reach Oprah for over 10 years and this may just be our ticket into the consciousness of their producers.

We are rallying a grassroots letter writing campaign. Our goal is to get 10,000 letters to Oprah by next Friday, March 4. Go to for our suggestions, instructions for submission, and ideas about what could be included in your letter. Please also send a copy of your letter to us at so we can tally the letters submitted.

Stay positive. Start your letters with what was right, e.g., "SPD is a devastating and unrecognized disorder," and add other facts as you wish (see specific facts posted at rather than focusing on what you felt was innacurate.

If you wish to read a summary of the show, go to:

Sincerely believing in the power of grassroots response campaigns, and in parents,

Lucy Jane Miller, Ph.D., OTR
Founder and Executive Director

Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)

Sensory processing disorder (SPD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects at least one in twenty children. Children with SPD don't process or experience sensory information the way other typical children do; therfore, they don't behave the way other children do. They struggle to perform tasks that come easier for other children. Consequently they suffer a loss of quality in their social, personal, emotional and academic life.

The Sensory Processing Disorder Foundation is dedicated to continue their research into the knowledge and treatment of SPD, so that, as Lucy Jane Miller writes in her book "Sensations Kids", "the millions of sensational children currently "muddling through" daily life will enjoy the same hope and help that research and recognition already have bestowed on coutless other conditions that once baffled science and disrupted lives."