Oprah’s Mistake about Sensory Processing Disorder

A while back there was a campaign in the Sensory Processing Disorder community to implore Oprah Winfrey to feature SPD on her show.  I understand that it was the idea of having such a well known celebrity champion and create more exposure for the disorder that was behind it, but at that time it left a pretty sour taste in my mouth.  I was not one of the SPD parents that helped campaign for it.  My intuition told me that this wasn't the right vehicle to spread awareness.

Turns out my intuition about the whole thing may not have been totally unfounded.  On an episode that ran last week called Children Dealing with Violent Rage there was a young man and his family featured.  He had a  mental illness that Oprah led viewers to believe was Sensory Processing Disorder.  When in fact SPD is not a mental illness at all, but a neurological disorder.  The child may have had SPD in addition to having a mental illness or not at all, but most likely his violent rage was from being Bipolar.

It is misinformation like this that creates so much confusion about SPD and pushes back the progress we've made educating those around us about Sensory Processing Disorder or Sensory Integration Dysfunction.  It is the not having all the facts that has always bothered me about lifestyle talk shows.  I'm sure that because there is a huge following that they seem like fantastic forums for spreading information and educating the public but as you can see when they have the wrong information the affect can be disastrous.

I know that there are many people writing to Oprah now because of this episode.  I only hope that Oprah decides to make the correction on her show instead of on her website as is usually done.  We will see.


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