Wednesday, February 20, 2008


Originally uploaded by Oldmaison
Boy faces new fight
A local woman is trying to shed light on a little-known illness after her son was diagnosed with sensory processing disorder this past November.

Allison Wall
Monday February 18, 2008
A local woman is trying to shed light on a little-known illness after her son was diagnosed with sensory processing disorder this past November.
Almost four years ago, Robert and Marla Rauser’s son, Adam, made headlines in Canada and the United States when he suffered and survived a heart attack, stroke and supra-ventricular tachycardia (when the heart beats much faster than normal). This past November, Adam was diagnosed with sensory processing disorder. At the end of February, Marla, a social worker in Lloydminster, will hold the first support group for those who have a family member with sensory processing disorder.
“I’m hoping to raise awareness about a little-known disorder that affects children and adults,” said Marla. “There are more people out there with kids like this.”
As an autism spectrum disorder, SPD is a complex brain disorder causing people to misinterpret everyday sensory information such as touch, sound and movement. While some feel bombarded with sensory information, others are under-responsive and seek out sensory stimulation. Many times children with the disorder have developmental delays, memory problems and can be behaviorally disruptive.
“It doesn’t usually get diagnosed until they are in school, and then they think they are ADHD and put them on Ritalin,” she said.

After Adam’s near brush with death as an infant, the Rauser’s brought their son home, but noticed some atypical behavior.
“He missed a lot of growth milestones and everyone always attributed it to what happened when he was little and it made sense,” said Marla.
This past year Marla’s concerns grew as Adam exhibited behaviors beyond what she believed was normal and she began asking other parents questions such as: “Does your boy take a knife and cut all the wood work in your house and all your screens? Does he fill your toilet with all kinds of unusual and weird objects? Do they have meltdowns?”
After several visits with doctors who dismissed their worries, they were referred to a doctor in Edmonton and Adam was diagnosed with SPD.
After the diagnosis, the Rausers turned their living room into a giant gym with bouncer balls, beanbags and mini trampolines. In less than two weeks, Adam’s behavior changed significantly.
The first support group meeting will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 26 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., with the site to be determined upon interest. For more information call Marla at 821-0377.
“I’m hoping by raising awareness that more teachers, more doctors and more parents will recognize that this over-the-top behavior might not be ADHD,” said Marla.

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