Common Symptoms Of “Look-Alike” Diagnoses And SPD Comorbidity;

A Comparison Between Sensory Processing Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder, Auditory Processing Disorder, and the Gifted Child
It’s no wonder we are confused!!

Sensory Processing Disorder

Older Child (although may apply to some younger children)
__ easily distracted
__ difficulty hearing adult voices over background sounds
__ cannot follow directions without constant verbal reminders
__ cannot complete more than one direction at a time
__ does not complete tasks
__ dislikes changes in plans or routines
__ overly excited when people come to house
__ hides when anyone comes over
__ poor speech, articulation
__ stubborn, uncooperative, defiant
__ erratic sleep patterns
__ does not like loud noises or commotion
__ craves/avoids touching
__ unusually low/high energy
__ “falls apart” frequently
__ has trouble making choices
__ immature, baby talk, cries over inconsequential things
__ short attention span
__ won’t join the group
__ clumsy, spacey, lazy
__ impulsive
__ speaks unusually loud/ talks too soft to hear
__ misses when placing objects on table
__ bumps into people and things
__ acts wild when in a group
__ forgets shoes, socks, homework, assignments
__ leaves the table during meals
__ difficulty with handwriting
(From Symptoms Of SPD, Michelle Morris)

Attention Defecit Hyperactivity Disorder

DSM-IV Criteria for ADHD

I. Either A or B:

A. Six or more of the following symptoms of inattention have been present for at least 6 months to a point that is disruptive and inappropriate for developmental level:


1. Often does not give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork, work, or other activities.
2. Often has trouble keeping attention on tasks or play activities.
3. Often does not seem to listen when spoken to directly.
4. Often does not follow instructions and fails to finish schoolwork, chores, or duties in the workplace (not due to oppositional behavior or failure to understand instructions).
5. Often has trouble organizing activities.
6. Often avoids, dislikes, or doesn’t want to do things that take a lot of mental effort for a long period of time (such as schoolwork or homework).
7. Often loses things needed for tasks and activities (e.g. toys, school assignments, pencils, books, or tools).
8. Is often easily distracted.
9. Is often forgetful in daily activities.

B. Six or more of the following symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsivity have been present for at least 6 months to an extent that is disruptive and inappropriate for developmental level:


1. Often fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in seat.
2. Often gets up from seat when remaining in seat is expected.
3. Often runs about or climbs when and where it is not appropriate (adolescents or adults may feel very restless).
4. Often has trouble playing or enjoying leisure activities quietly.
5. Is often “on the go” or often acts as if “driven by a motor”.
6. Often talks excessively.


1. Often blurts out answers before questions have been finished.
2. Often has trouble waiting one’s turn.
3. Often interrupts or intrudes on others (e.g., butts into conversations or games).

II. Some symptoms that cause impairment were present before age 7 years.

III. Some impairment from the symptoms is present in two or more settings (e.g. at school/work and at home).

IV. There must be clear evidence of significant impairment in social, school, or work functioning.

Auditory Processing Disorder
__ Difficulty following simple, or complicated directions
__ Difficulty sustaining attention
__ Easily upset in noisy/chaotic environments
__ Guesses, or blurts out answers prematurely
__ Cannot remain seated when expected to
__ Low frustration tolerance
__ Difficulty waiting in line
__ Easily distracted
__ Disorganized
__ Forgetful
__ Fidgety

Common Signs Of A Gifted Child
__ Very alert
__ Rapid learner
__ Advanced vocabulary
__ Very observant
__ Very curious
__ Vivid imagination
__ High degree of creativity
__ Solved a 20 piece puzzle by age 3
__ High degree of math understanding by age 3
__ Intense interest in books
__ Interest in math games
__ Interest in puzzles
__ Interest in computers
__ Many talents
__ Great number of interests
__ Willing to invest time in interests
__ Intense reactions to frustration
__ Perfectionist in areas of interests
__ Chooses older companions
__ Highly competitive
__ Strong leadership ability