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
THE FOLLOWING IS A LIST OF SENSORY RED FLAGS
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.