On September 27, 2018, the Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health published a case study featuring the care of a child suffering with sensory processing disorder, sleep challenges, and speech delay, who was helped by chiropractic.
According to the STAR Institute for Sensory Processing Disorder, “Sensory processing (originally called “sensory integration dysfunction” or SID) refers to the way the nervous system receives messages from the senses and turns them into appropriate motor and behavioral responses.” They explain that any action that a person performs depends on the sensory input they receive in order to properly perform any function. “Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), exists when sensory signals are either not detected or don’t get organized into appropriate responses.”
Although there is no clear study showing the number of children that suffer with SPD, surveys of parents put estimates of children entering kindergarten with SPD to be as high as 13.7%. Some studies and authorities estimate that just over 5% of children have some form of SPD.
This study reports that “The prevalence of speech and language delays is reported to range from 1.35% to 8% for children from 2-12 years old.” Also known as specific language impairment, this problem is defined as “…a form of developmental language impairment in which children demonstrate unexpected difficulties with the acquisition of spoken language.”
In this case, a 3 ½-year-old boy was brought to the chiropractor for evaluation. The boy had been previously diagnosed with SPD and was also suffering from difficulty sleeping and speech delay. His history revealed that he was suffering from repeated respiratory tract infections, as well as 5 to 6 prior ear infections, frequent colds, colic, and night terrors. The boy also had a sensitivity to certain clothing and was insistent on utilizing a pacifier.
The boy’s mother noted that her son had been suffering with his problems since birth and had been under the care of multiple professionals including a physical therapist, an occupational therapist, and a speech therapist. The various therapies had been partially effective, but the mother reported that her son was still struggling.
A chiropractic examination was performed which included palpation, an sEMG study, a thermal exam, postural analysis and spinal range of motion. From the findings of the examination, it was determined that multiple subluxations were present. To address the subluxations, age appropriate forms of chiropractic adjustments were started at the rate of three per week.
The study records that, after three months of chiropractic care, the boy’s mother reported a dramatic improvement in her son’s sensory processing, sleep, and speech. It was observed that the boy was less emotional, and he voluntarily stopped using his pacifier. His mother also reported that her son had three consecutive weeks of 11-12 hours of sleep per night without waking up. She commented about her son saying, “Suddenly everything in his body has ‘clicked’ and each system is communicating effectively throughout.”
In their conclusion the study authors wrote, “SPD, sleep challenges, and speech delay are common problems seen in pediatric patients. The case of a 3-year-old male presenting at a chiropractic office with these health challenges is described, with resolution or improvement seen after reduction of vertebral subluxation.”