SPD Symptoms Checklist

Here is a very basic, traditional checklist of SPD symptoms throughut the lifetime. The list may seem very long, but it is a condensed version that covers the full range of symptoms people with Sensory Processing Disorder might experience. All checklists on this site are made to print well, so feel free to print this out and mark how often and/or severely you or your child experience each of the following symptoms on a scale of 0 (never) to 4 (always/severe), or use P, if it was previously an issue but is no longer a current problem.

Sensory Modulation

General Modulation

_______ has unusual eating habits (strong preferances, eats at odd times, etc.)

_______ has unusual sleeping habits or sleep schedule

_______ has great difficulty with transitions, be they major life changes or small everyday stuff (one activity to another, going from inside to outdoors, etc.)

_______ becomes engrossed in one single activity for a long time and seems to tune out everything else

_______ spends hours at a time on fantasy or video games and activities

_______ very high or very low energy level

_______ are resistent to change in daily life and surrounding environment


_______ bothered by clothes; certain materials, tags, seams, pantyhose, ties, belts, turtlenecks. May have to wear shorts, skirts, or pants exclusively, etc.

_______ bothered by "light touch"; someone lightly touching/rubbing hand, face, leg or back

_______ excessively ticklish

_______ distressed by others touching; would rather be the "toucher" than the "touchee". May not like being hugged.

_______ very sensitive to pain, especially as compared to others

_______ dislikes the feeling of showers or getting splashed

_______ difficulty going to the beach, as the sand is irritating to the touch

_______ avoid touching anything "messy"

_______ washes hands constantly and/or only touches things through fabric or with fingertips

_______ can not wear new or "stiff" clothes that have not been washed or soaked in fabric softener

_______ hates to be barefoot or hates to wear shoes and/or socks

_______ frequently gets car sick, air sick, motion sick

_______ difficulty riding on elevators, escalators, or moving sidewalks

_______ avoids amusement park rides that drop, climb, spin, or go upside down

_______ difficulty eating foods with mixed textures, or one particular texture

_______ prefers very bland foods, dislikes anything spicy

_______ become nauseated or gags from certain cooking, cleaning, perfume, public restroom, or bodily odors

_______ become overstimulated or overaroused when people come to the house or when in crowded places

_______ overly exited/aroused in group settings

_______ avoids crowds and hides, disappears, or acts out when guests come over

_______ sensitive to noises that other people are not bothered by (clocks, refrigerators, fans, people talking, blenders, vaccuum cleaners, animals, outdoor construction, etc.)

_______ easily distracted by auditory or visual stimuli

_______ can not attend certain public events or places due to excessive noise

_______ over reacts to loud noises, like sirens

_______ can't sleep if room isn't completely dark

_______ fearful of heights

_______ bothered by hands or face being dirty


_______ may fail to recognize stimuli that most would find alerting or strong

_______ unable to identify foods that have gone bad by smell

_______ difficulty being able to smell dangerous smells (smoke, noxious/hazardous solvents, or something burning in the oven)

_______ doesn't seem to notice pain; get shots/cuts/bruises and hardly feel a thing

_______ lethargic, hard to get going, appears "lazy" and unmotivated

_______ doesn't seem to notice if hands or face are dirty

_______ is/was a late potty trainer (didn't notice need to go) or has/had chronic bed wetting issues

_______ doesn't seem to get dizzy

_______ might not catch self when falling or protect self from getting hurt; lacks reflexes

_______ doesn't interact with peers or adults; is hard to engage, an observer and not a 'do'er

_______ is the last to notice when a person enters the room, if they notice at all

_______ difficulty waking up in the morning (may not even notice alarm clock)

Sensory Seeking

_______ loves to touch and be touched, has to touch everything

_______ has to fidget and "fiddle" with things all the time; pens, pencils, rubber band, anything within reach

_______ often touches and twists own hair or other's hair

_______ is a thrill seeker; loves fast and/or dangerous rides and sports

_______ seeks out fast, spinning, and/or upside down carnival rides

_______ will often rock or sway body back and forth while seated or standing still

_______ frequently tip chair on back two legs

_______ restless when sitting through a lecture, presentation, or movie

_______ constantly chews on things, sucks thumb, and/or grits teeth

_______ prefers foods with very strong tastes and flavors

_______ constantly bites nails or fingers

_______ bites lips or insides of cheeks

_______ frequently shakes leg

_______ loves to sleep under multiple sheets or heavy blankets

_______ seeks out crashing and "squishing" activities; may jump on furniture or run into other people

_______ cracks knuckles often

_______ loves crunchy foods (popcorn, carrots, chips, nuts, pretzels, etc.)

_______ identifies objects by smell, has to smell everything, uses smell to determine whether or not to like something or someone

_______ great difficulty settling down for sleep

Sensory Discrimination

_______ can't identify objects by touch alone

_______ difficulty finding things in a desk, bag, or pocket without looking

_______ difficulty heating food to the correct temperature, feeling if it is too hot or too cold

_______ difficulty locating items in a cupboard, drawer, in the closet, or on a grocery shelf

_______ difficulty with recognizing/interpreting/following traffic signs

_______ gets disoriented and/or lost easily in stores, buildings, etc.

_______ difficulty concentrating on or watching a movie/tv show when there is background noise or distractions

_______ difficulty remembering or understanding what people are saying

_______ difficulty following directions if given two or three at one time

_______ can not complete concentrated tasks if noises present

_______ talks too loud or too soft

_______ difficulty licking an ice cream cone neatly

_______ difficulty with speech and annunciation

_______ bumps into things frequently

_______ often pushes too hard on objects, accidentally breaking them

_______ difficulty judging how much pressure to apply when doing tasks or picking something up

_______ often reverses numbers and letters or process them backwards

_______ difficulty telling time on an analogue clock

_______ difficulty reading and understanding a map, bus schedule, directions

_______ difficulty organizing and grouping things by categories, similarities, and/or differences

_______ difficulty reading text on computer screens

_______ difficulty distinguishing different tastes and/or flavors of food and/or drink items

_______ difficulty lining up numbers correctly for math problems and/or balancing a checkbook

Sensory-Based Motor Abilities

_______ has difficulty learning to ride a bike or other moving equipment

_______ clumsy, uncoordinated, and accident prone

_______ difficulty walking on uneven surfaces

_______ difficulty with fine motor tasks, such as buttoning, zipping, tying, playing games with small parts, closing zip loc bags, etc.

_______ confuses right and left sides

_______ prefers sedentary tasks, avoiding sports or physical activities

_______ difficulty with handwriting; hard to read, writes slowly, gets wrist cramps

_______ frequently bumps into people and things

_______ easily fatigued with physical tasks

_______ frequently misses when putting objects on a table

_______ messy eater, difficulty using eating utensils, spilling and dropping food frequently

_______ often knocks drinks or other things over when reaching for them

_______ has difficulty pouring drinks

_______ frequently drops items

_______ often hums or talks to self while concentrating on a task

_______ significant difficulty learning to tie things (shoes, bags, etc.)

_______ difficulty with motor tasks requiring several steps

_______ difficulty learning new motor tasks (a new dance, sport or exercise activity, how to drive, etc.)

_______ loses balance frequently, maybe even when standing still

_______ significant difficulty learning to type without looking at the keyboard

Social and Emotional

_______ dislikes changes in plans or routines, needing structure

_______ often described as "stubborn", "defiant", or "uncooperative"

_______ is very emotional and sensitive, may also be prone to crying

_______ can't seem to finish anything

_______ has difficulty making decisions

_______ is seen as rigid, bossy, and controlling

_______ prefers solitary activities over group participation

_______ is often impatient and/or impulsive

_______ doesn't always register or understand social cues and non verbal language

_______ difficulty with authority figures

_______ trouble relating to and socializing with peers and colleagues

_______ has difficulty accepting defeat or forgiving self

_______ frequently gets angery or has moments of rage

_______ easily frustrated

_______ needs sameness and routines; needs to know what to expect

_______ gets frequent panic or anxiety attacks

_______ has many fears and/or phobias

_______ OCD-type qualities; can't let foods touch each other on a plate, has to wear clothes a certain way, or other obsessions and compulsions.

_______ is easily distractible and often unorganized

_______ hates surprises

_______ difficulty seeking out and maintaining relationships

_______ avoids eye contact

Internal Regulation

_______ difficulty falling asleep or getting on a sleep schedule

_______ heart rate issues, including: unnecessary speeding, not slowing down when at rest, or not speeding up for tasks that require a higher heart rate

_______ respiration too fast or slow for the appropriate state of arousal

_______ over or under sensitivite to bowel and bladder sensations

_______ over or under sensitivite to the sensations of hunger and thurst

_______ irregular, inconsistent bowel, bladder and appetite sensations

_______ difficulty with temperature regulation of body

The above checklist was editted by Dan Travis and reposted from sensory-processing-disorder.com with the original author's permission.

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