Sensory Processing Disorder in simple terms is a disorder in how the nervous system receives and processes messages from its senses. Sometimes, it may affect one sense, sometimes it may affect several. Symptoms may also be inconsistent, more sever one day and not the next.  Just because a child has some these symptoms doesn’t mean they have Sensory Processing Disorder. Symptoms can also vary from severe to mild.

A child may have Hypersensitivities, where their senses are over responsive to stimulants. Or, they may have Hypo sensitivities, where they are under responsive to stimulants.  See the lists below for symptoms to both. Click here to read more about Sensory Processing Disorder.

Hypersensitivity (Over-Responsive)

  • Fear of loud noises
  • Fearful of crowds
  • Avoids touch and cuddling
  • Poor balance
  • May affect one sense, or many
  • May be a fussy baby
  • Textures will irritate them (like food textures)
  • Don’t like change
  • Will frequently throw tantrums
  • Background noise will bother them
  • May find clothing irritating
  • Low pain threshold
  • Bright colors irritate them
  • Lack of social skills
  • Poor self control
  • May notice sounds others don’t
  • Screaming if their face gets something on it (like it gets wet)
  • Fearful of crowds
  • Anxious and worried about their safety
  • Reluctant to play on the playground
  • Dislike washing hair, cutting nails, brushing teeth, etc.
  • Dislikes getting dirty
  • Oversensitive to odors
  • Have difficulties calming down when they get upset

Hyposensitivity (Under-Responsive)

  • In constant motion
  • Not bothered by injuries like cuts and bruises
  • Craves fast and intense movement
  • Likes messy play
  • Spinning doesn’t make them dizzy easily
  • Loves fast and intense rides at amusement parks
  • Doesn’t physically feel things very well
  • Moves or squirms even when sitting down
  • Craves touch
  • May not be aware hands or face is dirty
  • Self abusive
  • Hurts other kids or pets when playing
  • Prefers foods that are very flavorful
  • Loves to swing as high as possible
  • Doesn’t respond well to verbal cues
  • Will make noise for no apparent reason
  • Appears confused about where sound is coming from
  • Excessive drooling past the teething phase
  • Will be a thrill seeker
  • Loves being tossed in the air
  • Can never get enough flavor on their food
  • Struggles discrimination bad smells
  • Poor muscle tone and/or coordination
  • Difficulty telling similar letters or figures apart (Like i & l, d & b, etc.)

You can see by the symptoms above how this would be a difficult thing for a children and adults to deal with. Some cases may be severe enough to prove dangerous if they hurt themselves. If you suspect your child has Sensory Processing Disorder, you should get a diagnosis from a professional.

Symptoms can vary from person to person and no two children are the same, so your child may also display different symptoms than the ones listed above. Despite your child’s diagnosis, these interventions can be helpful.

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