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Ask parents of kids with learning and behavioral disorders if their children experience problems with sensory processing, and many of them will answer with a resounding “yes”. While it is widely accepted that most children with Autism Spectrum Disorders have trouble integrating sensory input, the fact that children who aren’t on the spectrum also experience these issues to varying degrees is now being examined more closely by the special needs community.  While all children can seem quirky or particular about their likes and dislikes, children with Sensory Processing Disorder (also called Sensory Integration Dysfunction) will be so severely affected by their sensory preferences that it interferes with their normal, everyday functioning. Sensory issues are usually defined as either hypersensitivity (over-responsiveness) or hyposensitivity (under-responsiveness) to sensory stimuli. Below, find some common signs of Sensory Processing Disorder.

Hypersensitivities to sensory input may include:

  • Extreme response to or fear of sudden, high-pitched, loud, or metallic noises like flushing toilets, clanking silverware, or other noises that seem unoffensive to others
  • May notice and/or be distracted by background noises that others don’t seem to hear
  • Fearful of surprise touch, avoids hugs and cuddling even with familiar adults
  • Seems fearful of crowds or avoids standing in close proximity to others
  • Doesn’t enjoy a game of tag and/or is overly fearful of swings and playground equipment
  • Extremely fearful of climbing or falling, even when there is no real danger i.e. doesn’t like his or her feet to be off the ground
  • Has poor balance, may fall often

Hyposensitivities to sensory input may include:

  • A constant need to touch people or textures, even when it’s inappropriate to do so
  • Doesn’t understand personal space even when same-age peers are old enough to understand it
  • Clumsy and uncoordinated movements
  • An extremely high tolerance for or indifference to pain
  • Often harms other children and/or pets when playing, i.e. doesn’t understand his or her own strength
  • May be very fidgety and unable to sit still, enjoys movement-based play like spinning, jumping, etc.
  • Seems to be a “thrill seeker” and can be dangerous at times

For a more detailed list of Sensory Processing Disorder symptoms, please click here.

Does your child have sensory issues that inhibit his or her daily functioning? At Brain Balance, we believe every child can connect with success. Our Achievement Centers offer the Brain Balance Program® in 57 (and growing) nationwide locations. We work with children who exhibit symptoms of SPD, ADHD, Learning Disorders, OCD, Tourette Syndrome, and Asperger Syndrome. (In some cases, a child with mild to moderate Autism may also be a candidate for our program.) After completing a comprehensive assessment of your child’s brain and body function, we integrate physical, sensory-motor, and cognitive exercises with simple dietary changes to optimize brain function and reduce/eliminate negative symptoms and behaviors. Each child’s program is unique to his or her struggles. Contact us today to learn more.

Enjoy These Related Articles:
Minimizing Sensory Overload in Kids with Special Needs
Sensory Activities for the Holidays
Signs and Symptoms of Asperger Syndrome

26 thoughts on “Signs and Symptoms of Sensory Processing Disorder

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  5. Leah

    I am a mother of a 2 yr old girl who meets the criteria for spd, specifically all the symptoms listed under the hypo sensitivities to sensory input list. She was not diagnosed but I am sure of it now after researching spd. She is receiving Ot, pt, and speech. She is very delayed in speech. Is there anything I can do to help her speech progress? I need tips and advice please.

    1. Brain Balance Achievement Centers

      Thank you for your interest in Brain Balance Achievement Centers! We recommend reading Disconnected Kids for at-home activities you can do with your child to strengthen neural connections and improve symptoms. Good luck!

  6. Michael

    For a person living with spd it is very difficult. Myself and my 2 boys, it has been a rollercoster of a ride for we three have spd,and everyday is a fight to fit in or do the simplest task, as of right I feel like jumping out of my skin just texting this, not knowing if the spellings right, its written well or if anyone believes me. Iam writing this just for a better understanding of spd. And to help my kids future to be less confusing.
    So if anyone can whatsoever help, because iam lost

    1. Brain Balance Achievement Centers

      Thank you for your interest in Brain Balance. Most centers host free parent information sessions, so we suggest contacting the center nearest you for more info on the next free parent information night. We also suggest reading Disconnected Kids for at-home activities you can do with your child to strengthen neural connections and improve symptoms.

  7. Pingback: Study: Gut Bacteria Affects Brain Function | Brain Balance Achievement Centers

    1. Brain Balance Achievement Centers

      Thank you for your interest in Brain Balance Achievement Centers! At this time we are located only in the U.S. We do have families temporarily relocate from all over the world to go through our program. For more information, please fill out our contact form and a representative will contact you.

  8. jasmine

    My son is 4yrs old i.e 3yrs completed and 4yrs started he is diagnosed as asd he has both the hyper and hypo but very mildly. That is some points from the hyper and some points from the hypo. How can i improve his sensory problems at home plz suggest me some points or videos that would be useful to me.

    1. Brain Balance Achievement Centers

      Thank you for your interest in Brain Balance Achievement Centers. We suggest reading our article about minimizing sensory overload in kids with neuro-developmental disorders.

  9. Amy Friederichs

    My 10 yr old daughter suffers from many severe sensory overload. Getting dressed is such on overwhelming process due to her feeling like “thousands of needles” are poking her. Resulting in many limitations on what clothes she can wear. All clothes cause her extreme amounts of stress and anxiety. She has to stretch clothes in order to wear them. We have a set routine and she still suffers everyday even with routine and buying the same brands and sizes 3-5 times bigger. This has also lead to having an ocd type behavi or that makes her think solid versus printed underwear and socks is a major issue. She is highly sensitive to the smell of heat that comes from vents in a vehicle. Her schooling is suffering, she has low self esteem. We have really struggled with the notion of medicating her. However, after trying OT several times, we did decide to try an antidepressiant. We are desperate to help our daughter and any advice, resources, and suggestions would be appreciated. Please help me help my daughter.

    1. Brain Balance Achievement Centers

      Thank you for your interest in Brain Balance Achievement Centers. Sensory motor activities are a crucial part of the Brain Balance Program. Our program is generally geared for kids ages four through seventeen, but check with your local center for more information. You can find your closest center here.

  10. Becky Maguire

    My child was diagnosed with Autism at three……because he flaps his hand. He’s completely verbal, but hates loud noises and crowds. This sounds like a much better diagnosis for him!!! he refused to walk until three and is still very clumsy. Could the dr’s be wrong about the Autism and he could have Sensory Processing Disorder instead?

    1. Brain Balance Achievement Centers

      Thank you for your interest in Brain Balance Achievement Centers. It’s important to note, as the article states, that at this time SPD isn’t an officially recognized diagnosis but is considered an aspect of other current diagnosable conditions. At Brain Balance, we are less concerned with diagnosis and more concerned with improving or eliminating symptoms through nutritional objectives, cognitive activities, and sensory motor exercises. To determine if your child is a candidate for our program, we suggest beginning with an assessment. Use our center locator to find the center nearest you or contact us today to learn more.

  11. Louis

    Goodday. My son (9y) has an eating disorder, but shows alot of symptoms similar to your article. Is there a center in south africa dealing with this challange?

  12. Sharon Heller

    Hi,
    I’m the author of Too Loud, Too Bright, Too Fast, Too Tight. I want to inform you of my new book Uptight & Off Center. Directed primarily for adults, it covers all aspects of SPD and focuses on the mental health issues involved in the dysfunction. It is available on Amazon currently as an ebook.
    Warmly, Sharon Heller

  13. Amanda

    I am 22 now but when I was 11 I was diagnosed with ADD/ADHD combined type and the medicine really does help but as I’ve been reading more and more about this disorder I’ve noticed it lines up a lot with autism and SPD I notice my symptoms more often line up on all three of these disorders. Is it really possible that its more then just the ADD and my doctors have never noticed?

    1. Brain Balance Achievement Centers

      Thank you for your interest in Brain Balance Achievement Centers. We suggest reading “Disconnected Kids” for answers to your questions about symptoms. You can find the book here.

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