Sensory Processing Disorder


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.

Hypersensitivities to sensory input may include:

  • Extreme response to, or fear of sudden, high-pitched, loud, or metallic noises like flushing toilets, noisy cutlery, 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, clumsiness.


Hypo sensitivities 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 – lack of spatial awareness.
  • Clumsy and uncoordinated movements.
  • An extremely high tolerance for, or indifference to pain.
  • Doesn’t understand his or her own strength – plays too rough, not knowing when to stop.
  • 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, little danger awareness.
  1. Hypersensitivity To Sounds (Auditory Defensiveness):


  • __ distracted by sounds not normally noticed by others; i.e., humming of lights or refrigerators, fans, heaters, or clocks ticking
  • __ fearful of the sound of a flushing toilet (especially in public bathrooms), vacuum, hairdryer, squeaky shoes, or a dog barking
  • __ started with or distracted by loud or unexpected sounds
  • __ bothered/distracted by background environmental sounds; i.e., lawn mowing or outside construction
  • __ frequently asks people to be quiet; i.e., stop making noise, talking, or singing
  • __ runs away, cries, and/or covers ears with loud or unexpected sounds
  • __ may refuse to go to movie theatres, parades, skating rinks, musical concerts etc.
  • __ may decide whether they like certain people by the sound of their voice


  • Hyposensitivity To Sounds (Under-Registers):
  • __ often does not respond to verbal cues or to name being called
  • __ appears to “make noise for noise’s sake”
  • __ loves excessively loud music or TV
  • __ seems to have difficulty understanding or remembering what was said
  • __ appears oblivious to certain sounds
  • __ appears confused about where a sound is coming from
  • __ talks self through a task, often out loud
  • __ had little or no vocalizing or babbling as an infant
  • __ needs directions repeated often, or will say, “What?” frequently


Signs Of Oral Input Dysfunction:


  • Hyposensitivity To Oral Input (Under-Registers)
  • __ may lick, taste, or chew on inedible objects
  • __ prefers foods with intense flavour; i.e., excessively spicy, sweet, sour, or salty
  • __ excessive drooling past the teething stage
  • __ frequently chews on hair, shirt, or fingers
  • __ constantly putting objects in mouth past the toddler years
  • __ acts as if all foods taste the same
  • __ can never get enough condiments or seasonings on his/her food
  • __ loves vibrating toothbrushes and even trips to the dentist


  1. Hypersensitivity To Oral Input (Oral Defensiveness):
  • __ picky eater, often with extreme food preferences; i.e., limited repertoire of foods, picky about brands, resistive to trying new foods or restaurants, and may not eat at other people’s houses)
  • __ may only eat “soft” or pureed foods past 24 months of age
  • __ may gag with textured foods
  • __ has difficulty with sucking, chewing, and swallowing; may choke or have a fear of choking
  • __ resists/refuses/extremely fearful of going to the dentist or having dental work done
  • __ may only eat hot or cold foods
  • __ refuses to lick envelopes, stamps, or stickers because of their taste
  • __ dislikes or complains about toothpaste and mouthwash
  • __ avoids seasoned, spicy, sweet, sour or salty foods; prefers bland foods
  • sensory-processing-chart-1274x800