SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF SPD

Sensory processing disorder (SPD) is a neurological condition that interferes with the brain’s ability to process and act on information received from the senses. A child with SPD finds it difficult to process and act upon the information received through his senses via sounds, sights, movement, touch, smell, and taste. It may cause difficulty with gross motor skills, creating a clumsy walking gait or frequent tripping. It can also impair fine motor skills – like coloring, cutting, and handwriting. Frequently, it causes tactile hypersensitivity to smell, taste, and textures.

The Common triggers of SPD include:

  • Hair brushing
  • Tight clothes or coarse fabric
  • Loud noises such as fireworks or thunder
  • Bright lights like camera flashes, sunshine, or strobes
  • Strong odors including perfume or scented detergent
  • Swimming in lakes
  • Sticky fingers
  • Tags on clothes
  • Being touched or hugged
  • Wearing shoes
  • Tart or bitter foods

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 un offensive 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

Hypersensitivities 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.
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