Sensory Processing Disorder Symptoms By Ages 

Children who have sensory processing disorder struggle with responding to sensory input. Children with sensory modulation disorder are either over or they are under-responsive to sensory input. Children who struggle with sensory discrimination disorder find it challenging to process or interpret sensory input correctly.

Children who are younger that struggle with with sensory processing disorder may be described as difficult, irritable often or they possibly have difficulties with transitions and self regulation. 

As children grow and get older, their sensory processing disorder symptoms could possibly change, becoming worse or better too. 

When a child starts to go to school, they may struggle with noisy, busy classrooms and playgrounds, have difficulty focusing because of their sensory overload and they could have trouble with fine motor skills, handwriting, or gross motor skills too. Sensory processing looks different for everyone so all children will experience sensory processing disorder differently. 

As children grow up and become teens, sensory processing disorder could significantly impact their life and make participating in activities or hobbies difficult and challenging. Teens may also experience difficulties with learning their school work and they could have some trouble with being organized, attention. 

This can be a challenging time for teens who have sensory differences. As they go through physical and social changes in their life, teens with sensory issues may have difficulty with sensory overload. It could be difficult for to understand and manage their sensory needs. Teens who have sensory processing disorder often feel isolated and misunderstood by their friends. 

Sensory processing can can impact self-regulation and emotional regulation, which are important skills for coping with anxiety or stress. This can make it difficult for teens to cope with the various stressors like academic pressures and relationships with friends.

Sensory processing disorder is commonly thought of or known as a disorder that mainly affects children but adults can have sensory processing disorder too. Many adults with sensory issues may have learned to cope with their sensory differences when they were a child but may still experience a lot of sensory challenges in different overwhelming situations. They could also struggle with difficulty with sensory overload in their place of work, leading to productivity or focusing issues. They could also struggle with other adult tasks like driving, cleaning, cooking or cooking, driving, or hygiene. 

Sensory processing disorder can also have a significant impact on a persons mental health. Adults with sensory difficulties may have a lot of anxiety, stress and depression because they often feel overwhelmed by the sensory input in their environment. Adults who have sensory issues could also have difficulties with their self-esteem or self-acceptance because their sensory processing disorder could be seen by others as odd or quirky. 

Everyone who has sensory processing disorder is unique and they experience their sensory difficulties in different ways than others do. Some people who have sensory differences may have challenges with tactile or olfactory sensory input but others struggle with fine motor skills and emotional regulation. There are many who have more than one diagnosis too like ADHD or autism. 

Sensory Processing Toddler Symptoms

Sensory Processing Toddler Symptoms

- extremely active or constantly in motion

- resists cuddling or affection

- difficulty changing from one activity to another

- rarely plays with toys
- extremely irritable when you are getting them dressed

- difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep

- refuses to go to anyone but you

- struggles with eating

Sensory Processing Preschool Symptoms

Sensory Processing Preschool Symptoms

- constantly in motion

- difficulty with transitions

- overly aggressive or withdrawn

- touches everything around them

- clumsy and awkward

- difficulty with fine motor skills

- overreacts to touch, noise or smells

- difficulty being toilet trained

Sensory Processing School Age Symptoms

Sensory Processing School Age Symptoms

- rough play (wrestling)

- constantly in motion

- difficulty reading

- slow to learn new activities

- difficulty making friends

- avoids fine motor skills such as writing

- overwhelmed at the playground during recess

- distracted in the classroom

Sensory Processing Teen/Adult Symptoms

Sensory Processing Teen/Adult Symptoms

- difficulties with relationships

- disorganized

- experiences sensory overload

- making friends is challenging

- difficulty staying focused

- doesn’t complete tasks

- difficulty learning new motor tasks

- sensitive to sounds

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.

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