Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Does My Child Have SPD?

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

  • 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…
    •  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.

    …an early childhood intervention/developmental therapy referral may be appropriate.
    NOTE: sensory integration/sensory processing issues should only be diagnosed by a qualified professional (primarily, occupational therapists and physical therapists). Some behaviors that appear to be related to sensory issues are actually behavioral issues independent of sensory needs.
    Information from

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