Red Flags for SPD

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"Parents are the adults in the best position to know when their child has a sensory problem but, too often, their observations are discounted because they are 'just the parents.' If the family's health care provider isn't familiar with SPD, the clues that triggered the parents' alarm may be overlooked, misinterpreted, or dismissed. The parents may be scolded for over-reacting or they may be offered assurances that their child is 'just a little delayed' or 'going through a phase' or 'showing his personality,' or 'just being a boy.' The child may be misdiagnosed and even treated for another disorder that is already familiar to the doctor rather than for the real culprit: Sensory Processing Disorder. By the time I meet families through the STAR Institute, at our Treatment Center in Denver, or in one of the workshops I teach, the parents are often near despair because they have tried and failed to convince somebody that red flag symptoms exist and are disrupting their child's life in basic ways. . . . The  parents are convinced that something isn't right but they are intimidated, frustrated, or downright discouraged because nobody believes them."

– from Sensational Kids: Hope and Help for Children With Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) by Lucy Jane Miller, PhD, OTR

Infants and toddlers

____ Problems eating or sleeping

____ Refuses to go to anyone but their mom for comfort

____ Irritable when being dressed; uncomfortable in clothes

____ Rarely plays with toys

____ Resists cuddling, arches away when held

____ Cannot calm self

____ Floppy or stiff body, motor delays



____ Over-sensitive to touch, noises, smells, other people

____ Difficulty making friends

____ Difficulty dressing, eating, sleeping, and/or toilet training

____ Clumsy; poor motor skills; weak

____ In constant motion; in everyone else's  “face and space”

____ Frequent or long temper tantrums



___ Over-sensitive to touch, noise, smells, other people

___ Easily distracted, fidgety, craves movement; aggressive

___ Easily overwhelmed

___ Difficulty with handwriting or motor activities

___ Difficulty making friends

___ Unaware of pain and/or other people


Adolescents and adults

___ Over-sensitive to touch, noise, smells, and other people

___ Poor self-esteem; afraid of failing at new tasks

___ Lethargic and slow

___ Always on the go; impulsive; distractible

___ Leaves tasks uncompleted

___ Clumsy, slow, poor motor skills or handwriting

___ Difficulty staying focused

___ Difficulty staying focused at work and in meetings

___ Unmotivated; never seems to get joy from life