SPD Symptoms Checklists

The following signs, signals, and symptoms are the everyday words that you may hear to describe behaviors of a child. The next time you hear some of these words, really listen. You may be hearing symptoms of Sensory Processing Disorder. Write down or check off all that apply to the child. If there is more than a few, the child needs an evaluation. And take heart, there is help. There is hope. There is therapy!

___ extremely active or extremely quiet
___ does not like to be cuddled, or will not let you put her down
___ a baby who seems to never sleep, does not develop sleep patterns
___ takes an unusually long time to nurse or finish bottle
___ does not like baby swings or riding in car/or…
___ may only sleep when swinging or riding in a car!
___ difficulty lifting head when on tummy
___ cannot crawl “on all fours”
___ uses soldier crawl or scoots rather than using arms to bear weight
___ screams hysterically when hungry, wet, cold, or hot
___ must have absolute quiet to settle down/or must have certain sounds
___ cannot hold self upright in walker, high chair for more than a few minutes, when age appropriate
___ cries when bathed
___ struggles when changed
___ cannot latch on, or suckle to nurse
___ tenses, or cries when helping in space
___ frequently make fists (after six months)
Remember what you are looking for at the infant stage are extremes. Too much one way, or too much the other. Every baby has likes and dislikes. You are looking for a multitude of symptoms.

Toddler or Preschool child

Motor Planning
___ difficulty going up or down stairs
___ falls off of chairs, couches, bed
___ walks into walls, corners, people
___ difficulty with push and pull toys
___ cannot pedal tricycles, bikes, scoot type toys
___ potty accidents that go on and on
___ strong preference for or against playground equipment
___ difficulty guiding utensils to mouth
___ cannot use scissors
___ cannot hold pencil or crayon incorrect grip
___ trouble kicking ball, or catching balloons
___ difficulty doing puzzles, legos, stacking blocks
___ spins, spins, spins
___ jumps, jumps, jumps
___ crashes, crashes, crashes

___ likes certain clothes, usually cotton
___ does not like sleeves that his wrist, or high collars
___ does not like belts, or anything snug around waist
___ seams in clothing or socks bothersome
___ acts claustrophobic when slightly stuck in clothes
___ cannot snap, zip, buckle, or tie
___ wants tags removed
___ likes to be totally covered, or is constantly removing clothing
___ overdresses in hot weather, or under dresses in cold weather

___ does not like certain textures; too crunchy, soft, grainy, or slimy
___ complains food too hot, or too cold
___ prefers unusually hot, or unusually cold food
___ food has no taste, or tastes too strong
___ likes very few foods, or will eat anything
___ has hard time with spoons and forks
___ spills food and drinks frequently
___ uses sippy cup long after most children have moved on
___ chews with mouth open
___ over stuffs mouth, chokes
___ bites fingers and tongue while eating
___ messy eater, dribbles food down chin, or can’t stand mess on hands
___ drops food on floor, all over table, unintentionally
___ dislikes carbonated drinks
___ cannot sit through a meal
___ prefers picking through the day, instead of regular mealtimes

Self-Care Skills
___ does not like to brush teeth
___ hates taste of toothpaste
___ does not like baths, washing or combing hair
___ likes cool or very warm baths
___ cries when fingernails and toenails clipped, or haircut
___ has trouble dressing self
___ does not like feet touched
___ always has shoes on, or never leaves them on
___ does not recognize need to potty

Muscle Tone
___ falls out of chairs
___ legs hang, rather than wrap around someone’s hips when carried
___ won’t carry objects, seem too heavy
___ rests head on hands or arms frequently
___ poor posture
___ fidgets and moves around a lot while sitting
___ can’t get comfortable

Emotions and Fears
___ severe temper tantrums, sometimes many per day
___ meltdowns in stores, restaurants, public places
___ withdraws into self, zones out
___ hides under furniture
___ acts out aggressively when touched, provoked, or upset
___ seems not to listen
___ easily frustrated, quick to anger
___ when excited, overdoes it, can’t calm down
___ severe separation anxiety
___ trouble playing with other children
___ grabby, hugs too hard, body slams while playing
___ flits from one activity to another
___ seems under/oversensitive to pain
___ bangs head in frustration
___ vomits a mouthful when too upset
___ afraid of falling in toilet
___ afraid of drain in tub
___ afraid of dark
___ afraid of new places, people
___ afraid no matter what consolation you give

Older Child
(these may also 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 handwriting
___ reading and math difficulties
___ inverting/reversing numbers and letters
___ cannot judge time
___ poor written work

Family Members of SPD Children
When there is an SPD child in the house, their behavior may affect everyone in the family. All the parenting methods that may have worked with other children seem not to apply. This can be very frustrating for the parents and siblings. Once an evaluation is completed and treatment has begun, the family can learn new and better ways of coping, and understanding what they can do to help their child, and consequently help the entire family. The signs you see listed here may be the result of stress in the family that has a Sensory Dysfunctional child.

___ migraine headaches
___ guilt feelings
___ hopelessness
___ suicidal thoughts
___ depression
___ chronic fatigue
___ fibromyalgia
___ anxiety disorder
___ low-stress tolerance
___ lack of coping skills
___ memory impairment

___ jealousy
___ anger
___ acting out
___ aggression
___ depression
___ withdrawal