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Child Development

5 Red Flags of Sensory Differences in Preschoolers

4 December 2017

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Sensory processing differences may present in a variety of ways in preschoolers. Your child may be overly sensitive to or distressed by everyday sensory events such as touch, movement, and more. Watch for:

1. Differences in touch

  • Your child may be constantly touching objects (to the point of irritation) or intruding on others’ spaces.
  • You may see a persistent seeking of oral input (such as putting non-food items in the mouth).
  • Your child may be sensitive to certain textures, sock seams or clothing tags.

2. Sensitive to new experiences

  • Your child may be overly fearful or cautious of new activities.
  • He or she may resist changes in routines.
  • Your child may be slow to learn new activities or play/games.

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3. Differences in movement

  • Your child may appear clumsy or awkward. He or she may bump into things, knock over items or use too much force when playing.
  • He or she may be fearful of movement. Your child may avoid the swings or slide and may have poor balance.
  • Your child may be in constant motion and crave rapid, spinning or upside down motion.
  • He or she may engage in repetitive, self-stimulatory or self-abusive behaviors.

4. Delays in age-appropriate development

  • Your child may resist or have difficulty with toilet training and other self-care tasks and routines.
  • Your child may have a limited diet and may not progress to age-appropriate foods.

5. Emotional differences

  • Your child may exhibit behaviors or emotions that are out of proportion to the situation.
  • He or she may be intense, demanding or easily frustrated or passive and withdrawn.

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