Does My Child Have SPD?

The following is a short list of indicators that may suggest your child has a Sensory Processing  Difficulties:

    • Child may seem to be in constant motion, unable to sit still for an activity
    • Has trouble focusing or concentrating, can’t stay on task
    • Seems to be always running, jumping, stomping rather than walking
    • Bumps into things or frequently knocks things over
    • Reacts strongly to being bumped or touched
    • Avoids messy play and doesn’t like to get hands dirty
    • Hates having hair washed, brushed or cut.
    • Resists wearing new clothing and is bothered by tags or socks
    • Distressed by loud or sudden sounds such as a siren or a vacuum
    • Has poor fine motor skills such as writing and cutting, difficulty with buttons and tying shoelaces
    • Has poor gross motor skills such as body co-ordination, riding a bike, swimming, running
    • Hesitates to play or climb on playground equipment
    • Difficulties with balance
    • Difficulty with eyes tracking objects and often loses place when reading or copying from board
    • Marked mood variations and tendency to outbursts and tantrums
    • Avoids eye contact
    • Has trouble following  and remembering a 2—3 step instruction
    • Fussy eater, often gags on food
    • Reacts to smells not noticed by others

Sensory Red Flags:
If a child is any of the following, an early childhood intervention/developmental therapy referral may be appropriate.

•  Very busy, always on the go, and has a very short attention to task
•  Often lethargic or low arousal (appears to be tired/slow to respond, all the time, even after a nap)
•  A picky eater
•  Not aware of when they get hurt (no crying, startle, or reaction to injury)
•  Afraid of swinging/movement activities; does not like to be picked up or be upside down
•  Showing difficulty learning new activities (motor planning)
•  Having a hard time calming themselves down appropriately, difficult to settle and hard to put to sleep
•  Appearing to be constantly moving around, even while sitting
•  Showing poor or no eye contact
•  Frequently jumping and/or purposely falling to the floor/crashing into things
•  Seeking opportunities to fall without regard to his/her safety or that of others
•  Constantly touching everything they see, including other children
•  Hypotonic (floppy body, like a wet noodle)
•  Having a difficult time with transitions between activity or location
•  Overly upset with change in routine
•  Hates bath time or grooming activities such as; tooth brushing, hair brushing, hair cuts, having nails cut, etc.
•  Afraid of/aversive to/avoids being messy, or touching different textures such as grass, sand, carpet, paint, playdoh, etc.

NOTE: sensory integration/sensory processing issues should only be diagnosed by a qualified professional (primarily, occupational therapists and physical therapists). Some behaviours that appear to be related to sensory issues are actually behavioural issues independent of sensory needs.

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