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SPD Symptoms Checklist


This article is from the STAR Institute for SPD's website.

Author: STAR Institute for SPD

If you suspect your child may have SPD, here's a checklist to give you a better idea.  Many of the symptoms listed in the following categories are common to that particular age group. Where more than a few symptoms are found in a child, we recommend you talk to your doctor or check for a professional in your area experienced with treating Sensory Processing Disorder.*

Infant/ Toddler Checklist:

____ My infant/toddler has problems eating. 

____ My infant/toddler refused to go to anyone but me.

____ My infant/toddler has trouble falling asleep or staying asleep

____ My infant/toddler is extremely irritable when I dress him/her; seems to be uncomfortable in clothes.

____ My infant/toddler rarely plays with toys, especially those requiring dexterity.

____ My infant/toddler has difficulty shifting focus from one object/activity to another. 

____ My infant/toddler does not notice pain or is slow to respond when hurt. 

____ My infant/toddler resists cuddling, arches back away from the person holding him.

____ My infant/toddler can not calm self by sucking on a pacifier, looking at toys, or listening to my voice.

____ My infant/toddler has a "floppy" body, bumps into things and has poor balance. 

____ My infant/toddler does little or no babbling, vocalizing. 

____ My infant/toddler is easily startled. 

____ My infant/toddler is extremely active and is constantly moving body/limbs or runs endlessly.

____ My infant/toddler seems to be delayed in crawling, standing, walking or running.


Pre-School Checklist:

____ My child has difficulty being toilet trained.

____ My child is overly sensitive to stimulation, overreacts to or does not like touch, noise, smells, etc.

____ My child is unaware of being touched/bumped unless done with extreme force/intensity.

____ My child has difficulty learning and/or avoids performing fine motor tasks such as using crayons and fasteners on clothing.

____ My child seems unsure how to move his/her body in space, is clumsy and awkward.

____ My child has difficulty learning new motor tasks.

____ My child is in constant motion.

____ My child gets in everyone else's space and/or touches everything around him.

____ My child has difficulty making friends (overly aggressive or passive/ withdrawn).

____ My child is intense, demanding or hard to calm and has difficulty with transitions.

____ My child has sudden mood changes and temper tantrums that are unexpected.

____ My child seems weak, slumps when sitting/standing; prefers sedentary activities.

____ It is hard to understand my child's speech.

____ My child does not seem to understand verbal instructions.


School Age: 

___ My child is overly sensitive to stimulation, overreacts to or does not like touch, noise, smells, etc.

___ My child is easily distracted in the classroom, often out of his/her seat, fidgety.

___ My child is easily overwhelmed at the playground, during recess and in class.

___ My child is slow to perform tasks.

___ My child has difficulty performing or avoids fine motor tasks such as handwriting. 

___ My child appears clumsy and stumbles often, slouches in chair. 

___ My child craves rough housing, tackling/wrestling games. 

___ My child is slow to learn new activities.

___ My child is in constant motion.

___ My child has difficulty learning new motor tasks and prefers sedentary activities. 

___ My child has difficulty making friends (overly aggressive or passive/ withdrawn).

___ My child ‘gets stuck' on tasks and has difficulty changing to another task.

___ My child confuses similar sounding words, misinterprets questions or requests.

___ My child has difficulty reading, especially aloud.

___ My child stumbles over words; speech lacks fluency, and rhythm is hesitant.



___ I am over-sensitive to environmental stimulation: I do not like being touched. 

___ I avoid visually stimulating environments and/or I am sensitive to sounds.

___ I often feel lethargic and slow in starting my day.

___ I often begin new tasks simultaneously and leave many of them uncompleted.

___ I use an inappropriate amount of force when handling objects.

___ I often bump into things or develop bruises that I cannot recall. 

___ I have difficulty learning new motor tasks, or sequencing steps of a task.

___ I need physical activities to help me maintain my focus throughout the day.

___ I have difficulty staying focused at work and in meetings.

___ I misinterpret questions and requests, requiring more clarification than usual.

___ I have difficulty reading, especially aloud.

___ My speech lacks fluency, I stumble over words.

___ I must read material several times to absorb the content.

___ I have trouble forming thoughts and ideas in oral presentations.

___ I have trouble thinking up ideas for essays or written tasks at school.

*While this checklist can't diagnose a child with SPD, it can be a helpful guide to see if additional testing should be done. When filling out this checklist, think about the child's behavior during the past six months.

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  • Raana Smith
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