Infant SPD Symptoms (ages 0-3)

This is a fairly basic checklist to help identify what traits a baby may have that are related to SPD. The list may seem very long, but it is a condensed version that covers the full range of symptoms babies from the ages of zero to three with Sensory Processing Disorder can have. 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 experience each of the following symptoms on a scale of 0 (never) to 4 (always/severe).

Sensory Modulation

General Modulation

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

_______ has unusual sleeping habits or sleep schedule

_______ heightened difficulty getting to asleep in unfamiliar environments

_______ distressed by switching from one activities to another in daily routines

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

_______ very high or very low energy level

_______ colicy; difficult to calm down, no matter what you try (or perhaps only one thing works, like being rocked)

_______ very resistent to change in daily life and surrounding environment

_______ parents find they must always control the baby's environment and “warn” people what to do/not to do so baby is comfortable


_______ distressed by being dressed, especially in certain fabrics or textures

_______ prefers to go naked; is often trying to remove clothing

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

_______ extremely ticklish

_______ distressed by being held; may arch back or become upset when hugged.

_______ distressed by diaper changes

_______ becomes inconsolably upset in a wet or dirty diaper

_______ potty trained early due to distress of wet or dirty diapers

_______ dislikes the feeling of water, especially during bathing or when getting splashed

_______ avoids touching certain textures, especially anything messy

_______ upset by having dirty hands or face

_______ may gag when eating foods with certain textures or flavors (has a very limited diet)

_______ difficult to get to try new foods or textures

_______ avoids putting toys and other objects in mouth; doesn't explore the world through the mouth like most babies

_______ distressed by certain generally mundane odors

_______ becomes upset or distraught when people come to the house or when in crowded places

_______ sensitive to noises that most babies are not bothered by (microwaves, refrigerators, fans, voices, vaccuum cleaners, etc.)

_______ avoids certain types of toys (vibrating, rough textured toys, slippery/slimy toys, brightly colored objects, flashing objects etc.)

_______ can't sleep if room isn't completely dark and/or quiet; wakes up at the slightest noise or light

_______ distressed by bright lights or the sun

_______ when able to walk, is unstable and afraid of falling

_______ doesn't enjoy movement games, baby swings, playground equipment; stroller, wagon, or car rides, etc.

_______ distressed when suddenly moved or head/body is tipped (may become afraid, arch back, get startled, etc.)

_______ distressed when being moved (i.e., rocked, swung, bounced, or “thrown” in the air)

_______ doesn't tolerate being in certain positions, i.e., on back, on stomach, sitting, etc.

_______ will stay in a position and become uncomfortable when moving to another (hard to transition posture, awkward)

_______ clenches fists and toes a lot

_______ distressed by being set down on top of certain fabrics or textures; may toewalk when they start walking to avoid touch ground

_______ gets overwhelmed, cries, or falls asleep when over stimulated


_______ doesn't respond to own name or a familiar voice

_______ doesn't respond to noises peers would notice

_______ doesn't appear to notice having a wet or dirty diaper

_______ doesn't seem to notice need to go; a late and/or difficult potty trainer

_______ doesn't seem to notice pain; get shots/cuts/bruises and not get upset

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

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

_______ oblivious to new toys or nearby toys, and/or resists playing with them

_______ difficult to get up in the morning or from a nap; sleeps a lot

Sensory Seeking

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

_______ always seems to engage in repetitive, non-purposeful play with a limited number of objects

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

_______ frequently bangs head, pinches, hits, bites, or hurts self or others

_______ extremely attached to pacifiers; can't calm down without it

_______ needs excessive movement (swinging, rocking, bouncing, or rocking self constantly)

_______ aside from the typical teething stage, always chewing on things (clothes, hands, fingers, etc.)

_______ prefers foods with very strong tastes and flavors

_______ needs to be swaddled tightly, have heavy blankets, stuffed animals, or tighter pajamas to fall asleep

_______ needs consistant sound or white noise to stay asleep (fan, nature tape, music, etc.)

_______ needs a lot of sensory input to fall asleep (rocking, singing, bouncing, rubbing skin, etc.)

_______ seeks out crashing and "squishing" activities

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

Sensory Discrimination

_______ frequently breaks toys (applies too much pressure)

_______ frequently drops toys (doesn't apply enough pressure)

_______ is too forceful around animals (not gentle enough)

_______ slow to start talking

_______ has significant issues with making 'typical' childhood noises

_______ bumps into things frequently

_______ difficulty organizing and grouping things by categories, similarities, and/or differences (color, shape, size, etc)

Sensory-Based Motor Abilities

_______ late to crawl,e walk, gesture, hold bottle, manipulate/play with toys, etc.

_______ doesn't crawl before walking, or uses a 'commando crawl,' pulling self along on belly with arms

_______ clumsy, uncoordinated, bumps into things, accident prone

_______ difficulty balancing and staying upright, especially on uneven surfaces

_______ uses just one hand with toys and/or can't switch from one hand to another

_______ confuses right and left sides

_______ not a natural explorer; will stay put and not explore world around them typically

_______ can't use or keep a good grip on objects at an age appropriate level

_______ is unable to clap hands or bang toys together at appropriate age level

_______ easily fatigued with physical tasks

_______ difficulty breastfeeding; seems to lack instinctive 'know how'

_______ difficulty chewing, sucking or swallowing

_______ doesn't hold onto or reach for toys at an appropriate age

_______ closes hand if object comes near it; unsure of how far away it is or how to grab it

_______ frequently drops items

_______ difficulty learning and using language, cues, gestures, etc. becoming easily frustrated

_______ difficulty learning new motor tasks (new games, new movements, etc.)

_______ floppy body, noodle-like; weak grip

Social and Emotional

_______ dislikes changes in routines, needing consistancy

_______ often appears defiant or uncooperative

_______ is very emotional and sensitive, cries a lot

_______ distressed when transitioning from one activity to another

_______ does not engage in recipricol play with caregivers or other familiar people

_______ severe separation anxiety (incredibly upset when left alone or with unfamiliar people for even short periods)

_______ has many tantrums every day

_______ has excessive reflux, allergies, ear infections or digestive issues

_______ can't get enough of, or never attached to, comfort objects (blanket, stuffed animal, rubbing something, pacifier, thumb, etc.)

_______ can't focus attention on play, caregiver, or toy long enough to interact at an appropriate age level

_______ engages in constant non-purposeful activities (spinning, rocking, staring at certain objects, etc)

_______ is not interested in play or will not use objects for purposeful play

_______ wanders around aimlessly a lot

_______ has a very hard time transitioning from bottle or breast feeding to solid foods

_______ often appears sad or uncomfortable; may not smile much

_______ strongly prefers adults with certain energy levels or voices (intonation, volume, pitch, etc.)

_______ difficulty establishing eye contact, focusing on objects or tracking them with eyes

_______ easily startled

_______ needs a favorite toy or sound to soothe self, but seems to get over being upset very quickly

Internal Regulation

_______ difficulty getting to sleep at night or at a nap time

_______ very unpredictable sleep/wake cycle

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

_______ sleeps a lot; is not often alert, responding, playing, or interacting

_______ has a very hard time waking up

_______ chronic, irregular, and inconsistent bowel and bladder activity

_______ seems to always be hungry or doesn't ever want to eat

The above checklist was editted by Dan Travis and reposted from with the original author's permission.

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