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Sensory Processing Disorder Behaviors

caroline mosaic picture picIf your child has been diagnosed with SPD, or Sensory Processing Disorder, here is a go to list for behaviors…. Helpful

 

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SPD Definitions/Behaviors

 

 1. Hypersensitivity To Touch (Tactile Defensiveness)

 

__ becomes fearful, anxious or aggressive with light or unexpected touch

__ as an infant, did/does not like to be held or cuddled; may arch back, cry, and pull away

__ distressed when diaper is being, or needs to be, changed

__ appears fearful of, or avoids standing in close proximity to other people or peers (especially in lines)

__ becomes frightened when touched from behind or by someone/something they can not see (such as under a blanket)

__ complains about having hair brushed; may be very picky about using a particular brush

__ bothered by rough bed sheets (i.e., if old and “bumpy”)

__ avoids group situations for fear of the unexpected touch

__ resists friendly or affectionate touch from anyone besides parents or siblings (and sometimes them too!)

__ dislikes kisses, will “wipe off” place where kissed

__ prefers hugs

__ a raindrop, water from the shower, or wind blowing on the skin may feel like torture and produce adverse and avoidance reactions

__ may overreact to minor cuts, scrapes, and or bug bites

__ avoids touching certain textures of material (blankets, rugs, stuffed animals)

__ refuses to wear new or stiff clothes, clothes with rough textures, turtlenecks, jeans, hats, or belts, etc.

__ avoids using hands for play

__ avoids/dislikes/aversive to “messy play”, i.e., sand, mud, water, glue, glitter, playdoh, slime, shaving cream/funny foam etc.

__ will be distressed by dirty hands and want to wipe or wash them frequently

__ excessively ticklish

__ distressed by seams in socks and may refuse to wear them

__ distressed by clothes rubbing on skin; may want to wear shorts and short sleeves year round, toddlers may prefer to be naked and pull diapers and clothes off constantly

__ or, may want to wear long sleeve shirts and long pants year round to avoid having skin exposed

__ distressed about having face washed

__ distressed about having hair, toenails, or fingernails cut

__ resists brushing teeth and is extremely fearful of the dentist

__ is a picky eater, only eating certain tastes and textures; mixed textures tend to be avoided as well as hot or cold foods; resists trying new foods

__ may refuse to walk barefoot on grass or sand

__ may walk on toes only

 

2. Hyposensitivity To Touch (Under-Responsive):

 

__ may crave touch, needs to touch everything and everyone

__ is not aware of being touched/bumped unless done with extreme force or intensity

__ is not bothered by injuries, like cuts and bruises, and shows no distress with shots (may even say they love getting shots!)

__ may not be aware that hands or face are dirty or feel his/her nose running

__ may be self-abusive; pinching, biting, or banging his own head

__ mouths objects excessively

__ frequently hurts other children or pets while playing

__ repeatedly touches surfaces or objects that are soothing (i.e., blanket)

__ seeks out surfaces and textures that provide strong tactile feedback

__ thoroughly enjoys and seeks out messy play

__ craves vibrating or strong sensory input

__ has a preference and craving for excessively spicy, sweet, sour, or salty foods


 

3. Poor Tactile Perception And Discrimination:

 

__ has difficulty with fine motor tasks such as buttoning, zipping, and fastening clothes

__ may not be able to identify which part of their body was touched if they were not looking

__ may be afraid of the dark

__ may be a messy dresser; looks disheveled, does not notice pants are twisted, shirt is half un tucked, shoes are untied, one pant leg is up and one is down, etc.

__ has difficulty using scissors, crayons, or silverware

__ continues to mouth objects to explore them even after age two

__ has difficulty figuring out physical characteristics of objects; shape, size, texture, temperature, weight, etc.

__ may not be able to identify objects by feel, uses vision to help; such as, reaching into backpack or desk to retrieve an item


Vestibular Sense: input from the inner ear about equilibrium, gravitational changes, movement experiences, and position in space.

 

Signs Of Vestibular Dysfunction:

 

1. Hypersensitivity To Movement (Over-Responsive):

 

 
__ avoids/dislikes playground equipment; i.e., swings, ladders, slides, or merry-go-rounds

__ prefers sedentary tasks, moves slowly and cautiously, avoids taking risks, and may appear “wimpy”

__ avoids/dislikes elevators and escalators; may prefer sitting while they are on them or, actually get motion sickness from them

__ may physically cling to an adult they trust

__ may appear terrified of falling even when there is no real risk of it

__ afraid of heights, even the height of a curb or step

__ fearful of feet leaving the ground

__ fearful of going up or down stairs or walking on uneven surfaces

__ afraid of being tipped upside down, sideways or backwards; will strongly resist getting hair washed over the sink

__ startles if someone else moves them; i.e., pushing his/her chair closer to the table

__ as an infant, may never have liked baby swings or jumpers

__ may be fearful of, and have difficulty riding a bike, jumping, hopping, or balancing on one foot (especially if eyes are closed)

__ may have disliked being placed on stomach as an infant

__ loses balance easily and may appear clumsy

__ fearful of activities which require good balance

__ avoids rapid or rotating movements

 

2. Hyposensitivity To Movement (Under-Responsive):

 

__ in constant motion, can’t seem to sit still

__ craves fast, spinning, and/or intense movement experiences

__ loves being tossed in the air

__ could spin for hours and never appear to be dizzy

__ loves the fast, intense, and/or scary rides at amusement parks

__ always jumping on furniture, trampolines, spinning in a swivel chair, or getting into upside down positions

__ loves to swing as high as possible and for long periods of time

__ is a “thrill-seeker”; dangerous at times

__ always running, jumping, hopping etc. instead of walking

__ rocks body, shakes leg, or head while sitting 

__ likes sudden or quick movements, such as, going over a big bump in the car or on a bike

 

3. Poor Muscle Tone And/Or Coordination:

 

__ has a limp, “floppy” body

__ frequently slumps, lies down, and/or leans head on hand or arm while working at his/her desk

__ difficulty simultaneously lifting head, arms, and legs off the floor while lying on stomach (“superman” position)

__ often sits in a “W sit” position on the floor to stabilize body

__ fatigues easily!

__ compensates for “looseness” by grasping objects tightly

__ difficulty turning doorknobs, handles, opening and closing items

__ difficulty catching him/her self if falling

__ difficulty getting dressed and doing fasteners, zippers, and buttons

__ may have never crawled as an baby

__ has poor body awareness; bumps into things, knocks things over, trips, and/or appears clumsy

__ poor gross motor skills; jumping, catching a ball, jumping jacks, climbing a ladder etc.

__ poor fine motor skills; difficulty using “tools”, such as pencils, silverware, combs, scissors etc.

__ may appear ambidextrous, frequently switching hands for coloring, cutting, writing etc.; does not have an established hand preference/dominance by 4 or 5 years old

__ has difficulty licking an ice cream cone

__ seems to be unsure about how to move body during movement, for example, stepping over something

__ difficulty learning exercise or dance steps


Proprioceptive Sense: input from the muscles and joints about body position, weight, pressure, stretch, movement, and changes in position in space.

 

Signs Of Proprioceptive Dysfunction:

 

1. Sensory Seeking Behaviors:

 

__ seeks out jumping, bumping, and crashing activities

__ stomps feet when walking

__ kicks his/her feet on floor or chair while sitting at desk/table

__ bites or sucks on fingers and/or frequently cracks his/her knuckles

__ loves to be tightly wrapped in many or weighted blankets, especially at bedtime

__ prefers clothes (and belts, hoods, shoelaces) to be as tight as possible

__ loves/seeks out “squishing” activities

__ enjoys bear hugs

__ excessive banging on/with toys and objects

__ loves “roughhousing” and tackling/wrestling games

__ frequently falls on floor intentionally

__ would jump on a trampoline for hours on end

__ grinds his/her teeth throughout the day

__ loves pushing/pulling/dragging objects

__ loves jumping off furniture or from high places

__ frequently hits, bumps or pushes other children

__ chews on pens, straws, shirt sleeves etc.


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