SPD Red Flags
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." 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 SPD Foundation, at the STAR 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. . . . (They) know 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

Red flags of Sensory Processing Disorder

If more than a few of the symptoms listed below fit your child, refer to the complete SPD Checklist in Our Library. For a Spanish-language copy of the Red Flags, click here.

Infants and toddlers
____ Problems eating or sleeping
____ Refuses to go to anyone but me
____ 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

Pre-schoolers
____ 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

Grade schoolers
___ 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

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