Diagnosis Abbreviations, Signs & Symptoms 
When reading articles, reading posts on an online support group or attending appointments for ourselves and our children, we often hear or read abbreviations, signs and symptoms.  At times, we don't know what they mean. 

I have made this list for you of abbreviations, diagnosis, signs and symptoms to help you understand terms and diagnosis easier because at first, it can all be a little confusing. 







Symptoms Of Childhood Anxiety

- stomach pain
- headaches
- wetting in their beds
- socially withdrawn
- anger
- not wanting to go to school
- aggression
- refusing certain situations
- sleeping issues
- nightmares
- changes in their appetite
- chewing their nails
- tense muscles
- tired or fatigue
- changes in mood or irritability
- avoiding situations
- avoiding people
- not enjoying things they used too
Dysgraphia Symptoms

- incorrect use of capitals
- not including words in sentences
- not using the correct words
- poor or unreadable handwriting
- incorrect spelling
- mixing printing letter with cursive letters together
- writing slowly
- incomplete words
- misuse of lines and margins
- awkward body position
- often erasing
- writing too large or too small
- inappropriate spacing between letters
- speaking out what they are writing as they are writing
- feeling tired after writing a short amount
- tight grip while they are writing
- holding pencil/pen in odd positions while writing
- they have difficulty writing notes in school
- difficulty thinking of words to write
- avoids writing
- unusual paper position while writing
- unfinished sentences
- pain or cramps in fingers or wrists while writing
Dyslexia Symptoms

- reads something slowly or more than once to understand
- difficulty pronouncing multi-syllable words
- adds letters in words while writing
- struggles to find the right word
- loses place on the page, skips lines or rereads lines
- difficulty copying words from another paper
- misspells many common words
- has difficulty with spelling, writing and reading
- difficulty remembering the entire alphabet
- recognizes a word on one page but not on the next page
- reads words in the wrong order
- movement of letters on a page when reading or writing
- often confuses left and right
- confuses letters with similar shape (b & d)
- struggles to find words that rhyme
- struggles to read time on a clock or tie shoes
Dyscalculia Symptoms

- difficulty recognizing patterns
- copies numbers out of order
- map reading difficulties
- difficulty with math tasks
- reverses numbers
- uses fingers to count
- difficulty counting objects
- guesses math answers
- gets into trouble to avoid doing math
- struggles to remember multiplication
- difficulty reading charts and graphs
- frequent headaches while doing math
- difficulty understanding math word problems
- poor self esteem and doesn't feel smart
- confuses math symbols - or +
- struggles to count money or make change
- remembering basic math facts are challenging
- struggles to count in two's, three's or five's
- difficulty understanding math words
- has trouble learning and naming numbers
- gets emotional while doing math
Dyspraxia

- loud high pitched voice
- easily distressed and having meltdowns
- clumsy
- difficulties in establishing routine
- sensitive to loud noises
- difficulty with fine motor skills
- difficulty climbing
- sleeping difficulties
- struggles to get dressed and tie shoes
- poor control of the oral motor muscles
- struggles to play ball games
- difficulty timing movements
- poor body awareness
- hypotonia or low muscle tone
- speech and language processing delays
- slow motor reactions
- visual-spatial difficulties
- difficulties with social skills
- poor handwriting skills
- swinging feet while seated
- prefers to eat with fingers
- no sense of danger
- awkward movements
- short attention span
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder ADHD

- fidgets and squirming while seated
- difficulty focusing in class
- excessive talking
- runs, jumps and climbs when not permitted
- easily distracted
- difficulty paying attention
- often loses or misplaces personal items
- interrupts others while talking
- struggles to wait their turn
- low impulse control
- easily frustrated
- difficulty calming down when angry
- inpatient with others
- constant movement and restlessness
- difficulty with sleep
- difficulty completing tasks
- emotional outbursts
- easily bored
- difficulty following instructions
- struggles to take turns
- often disorganized
- struggles socially
Sensory Processing Disorder Seeker SPD
 (hyposensitive)

- loves movement
- enjoys being rough and active
- loves a stimulating environment
- craves salty, chewy and crunchy foods
- enjoys motion, crashes into walls or floors
- loves running and jumping
- touches everything
- struggles to sit still
- has a poor attention span
- climbs too high or climbs on everything
- crashes into people and everything
- licks or chews everything
- doesn't feel pain like most do
- engages in messy play
Sensory Processing Disorder Avoider SPD 
(hypersensitive)

- covers ears from noise
- avoids messy play or messy hands
- dislikes anyone too close to them
- doesn't like climbing and swinging
- refuses bath time
- complains about smells
- struggles to brush their teeth
- feels pain more than most do
- walks on toes
- dislikes water on their face
- mentions lights are too bright
- doesn't like tags or seams on clothes
- avoids hugs and kisses
- struggles with food textures
Signs Of Sensory Overload

- anxiety and panic
- reduced eye contact
- self-harming behavior
- increased stimming
- meltdowns and angry outbursts
- fidgeting and hyperactivity
- increased chewing objects
- distracted and difficulty focusing
- emotionally withdrawing
- unwilling to participate
- running away or hiding
- increased sensitivity to clothing
- socially withdrawing
- fast breathing
- crying and yelling
- covering ears or eyes
- muscle tension
- avoiding places or situations
- doesn't want to be touched
Oppositional Defiant Disorder ODD

- argumentative
- holds grudges
- easily loses their temper
- blames others for their own mistakes
- easily annoyed by others
- often disrespectful
- refuses to follow rules
- excessively arguing with adults
- seeks out verbal confrontations
- frequent outbursts of explosive anger
- swearing or using obscene language
- often spiteful and seeking revenge
- refuses to comply with requests
- hostile towards peers
- doesn't consider consequences
- physical aggression
- deliberately annoys and upset others
- throwing temper tantrums
- takes no responsibility for actions
- saying mean and hateful things when angry
Separation Anxiety  SepAD

- clings to parents/caregivers
- fear of separation
- cries when separated from parents/caregivers
- nightmares or bedwetting
- refuses to go anywhere without parents/caregivers
- headaches or stomach pain
- excessive worries about losing parents/caregivers
- refuses sleepovers away from home
- avoids activities without parents/caregivers
- refuses to sleep alone
- fear of being alone
- tantrums while separating from parents/caregivers
- refuses to go to school
- distressed about leaving home
Parental Depression

- low self-esteem
- feelings of hopelessness
- fatigue or low energy
- social isolation
- feeling anger, denial or hurt
- unable to handle child’s behaviors
- feeling responsible for child’s diagnosis
- not sleeping or sleeping too much
- feeling inadequate as a parent
- poor concentration
- feeling loss or grief
- poor appetite or increased appetite
- memory issues or distractibility
- feeling guilty for pursuing interests
- information overload
- difficulty coping
- increased anxiety and worry
- difficulty making decisions
- very little or no time for themselves
- loss of interest in activities
Symptoms Of Parental Burnout

- feeling sick, headaches or not feeing well
- isolated from family/friends and often cancelling plans
- inability to take a break, sleep and feeling exhausted
- brain fog and not thinking as clearly as you used too
- roller coaster of emotions, feeling sad, happy, hopeless or angry
- constantly worried about your child, their future and questioning yourself
- you struggle to find baby sitters or respite to help you with your child
- always feeling overwhelmed and unable to accomplish all you need too
- unable to tend to your own self care
- feeling anxious and not able to relax
- you no longer have special interests, hobbies and put yourself last
- you judge yourself, have low self esteem, place unrealistic expectations on yourself and blame yourself (it is not your fault)
- you have no off switch and are feeling extremely depleted
Auditory Processing Disorder APD 

- difficulty listening for extended periods of time in school
- does not respond to or has difficulty following verbal instructions
- cannot communicate well in noisy environments
- difficulty remembering information received verbally or written
- overstimulated by or distracted by random noises
- delayed speech
- lack of attention and concentration
- limited vocabulary 
- sound sensitivities 
- agitated and easily distracted by noise 
- delayed reading skills 
difficulty reading out loud 
- easily stressed in noisy environments 
- confusion with consonants and similar sounding words 
- difficulty with colors, shapes, numbers and alphabet
Social Anxiety  SAD 

- intense anxiety in social situations
- fear of being judged by others
- avoiding social situations
- feeling sad or angry in social settings
- worries about being embarrassed around other people
- throwing tantrums before social events
- asking questions for reassurance about situations
- fear of meeting new people
- exaggerated fears about social situations
- fears reading out loud in class
- freezing up around others
- difficulty ordering food at restaurants
- avoids eye contact around others
- refuses to go to school
- difficulty making friends
- refuses to speak in some situations
- extreme self-consciousness in social settings
- speaks softly around others
- sweating, nausea or blushing around others
- clinging to parents at social events
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder OCD 

- long periods of time spent touching things
- extreme obsession with dirt or germs
- checking and rechecking things multiple times
- too much attention to detail
- hoarding objects
- repetitive handwashing
- worrying about something bad occurring
- aggressive thoughts, urges, or behaviors
- touching or stepping in certain ways
- counting and recounting a lot
- upset because things aren't just right
- putting things in a certain order
- repeating words, phrases, or questions
- worrying that someone they love could get sick or hurt
- arranging things over and over
- having unwanted thoughts
- frequently confessing or apologizing
- trouble making choices
- thinking about something over and over
- extreme fears about doing something wrong
- doubting decisions
- needing excessive reassurance
Generalized Anxiety Disorder  GAD

- worries about things before they happen
- refusing to go to school
- worries about friends and family
- extreme tired and fatigued
- inability to relax
- clinging to family members
- constant thoughts and fears
- difficulty concentrating
- easily startled
- worries about being away from home
- difficulties sleeping
- worries more than their peers
- frequent stomach aches or headaches
- fidgets and unable to sit still
- reassurance seeking
- excessive studying
- asking a lot of "what if" questions
- overthinking situations
- lacking confidence
Freeze Fight or Flight 

Freeze (hypo-arousal)

- feeling like they can't move
- feeling numb
- difficulty speaking
- feeling disconnected
- holding their breath
- Shut down
- heart racing
- feeling trapped


Flight (hyper-arousal)

- fidgeting
- restless
- difficulty sitting still
- wanting to run away from the situation
- heavy breathing
- hiding




Fight (hyper-arousal)

- yelling and raising their voice
- aggressive
- arguing
- glaring
- stomping
- kicking
- hitting

- feeling irritable
- clenching their fists
- tightening their muscles and being tense
- throwing things
- clawing or scratching
- pushing
- spitting
- screaming
What triggers a fight, flight or freeze response?

- sensory overload
- transitions from one place to another
- feeling lonely or rejected by peers
- feeling unsafe
- being hungry or thirsty
- transitioning from one activity to the next activity
- feeling they could be in trouble
- when their routine changes unexpectedly
- changes they weren't expecting (unpredictability)
Childhood Depression

- feeling hopelessness
- low energy
- extremely sensitive to rejection or failure
- low self esteem and guilt
- increased irritability or anger
- difficulty with relationships
- persistent boredom
- headaches and stomach aches
- poor concentration
- increased or decreased eating
- inability to enjoy previously favorite activities
- speaks negatively about themselves
- struggling to do well academically
- talks about running away or does run away
- afraid or worries a lot
- sleeping too much or not enough
- doesn't want to be around friends or family
- appears to be sad and unhappy most of the time
- feeling guilty
- thinking everything is their fault
- talks about suicide
- self destructive behavior
Teen Depression

- feeling empty or hopeless
- feeling worthless
- low self-esteem
- sensitive to rejection
- needing excessive reassurance
- difficulty making decisions
- sleeping too much or not sleeping enough
- crying spells for no apparent reason
- feeling annoyed or irritable
- difficulty thinking or concentrating
- alcohol or drug use
- social isolation
- self harming
- suicide plans or attempts
- fixation on past failures
- angry outbursts or risky behavior
- poor hygiene
- changes in appetite
- rebellious behavior
- loss of interest in usual activities
- conflict with family or friends
- exaggerated self-blame or self-criticism
- thoughts of death or suicide
Reactive Attachment Disorder  RAD

- feeling unhappy
- being irritated
- avoiding physical contact with caregivers
- avoiding eye contact
- having tantrums
- inability to express emotions
- argumentative with others
- crying inconsolably
- comforting themselves often
- emotionally detached
- feeling sadness and anger
- feeling anxious
- difficulty building relationships
- untrusting of adults
- lying. stealing or impulsive
- withdrawing from social situations
- difficulties in working memory
- depression and low self esteem
- exaggerate distress
- executive functioning difficultly
Non-Verbal Learning Disorder  NVLD 

- difficulty identifying and understanding sarcasm
- struggles with reading comprehension
- poor fine motor skills
- struggles with change
- repetitively asking questions
- overly-trusting or naïve
- poor executive functioning
- struggles to understand visual information
- difficulty sustaining their attention
- poor physical coordination (clumsy)
- mathematical problem solving
- inability to read non-verbal social cues (expressions/body language)
- poor organizational and planning skills
- struggles to recognize others emotions
- poor problem solving skills











DISCLAIMER: I am not an Occupational Therapist. I am an adult who has Sensory Processing Disorder, a sensory parent and a Grandma. The information on this website is not medical advice and does not replace the information that your child's therapists gives you. These are just ideas and information that I have learned myself over the years of being a parent and an adult living with SPD. If you are concerned for your child, please always seek medical attention through a family doctor, pediatrician or therapist. This website is for suggestions and informational purposes only. Each child is different and what works for one child may not for another because all children have different needs. Please always consult with a professional.

Amazon offers a small commission on products sold through their affiliate links on my website.  Each of your purchases through links on my website for Amazon affiliation links or sponsored links supports me but at no additional cost to you so thank you for your purchases. I apreciate it so much!