Use this sensory behavior checklist to help you figure out what’s going on with your kiddo!
Have you ever wondered if your child’s behavior is due to just being a kid or is it sensory related?
At the end of the day.. is it behavior or sensory?
As part of the my Voices of Special Needs, Wendy from The Imperfect Mom is sharing a Sensory Behavior Checklist about what the signs of Sensory Processing Disorder are.
Be sure to learn more about Sensory Processing Disorder and my parenting tips on how to support your child with sensory challenges.
When my second son was younger I struggled…A LOT!
He was a very explosive child, cried frequently, was irritable, screamed at everything and I did not deal with it well.
I still remember multiple times when I sat on the couch with glazed look in my eyes, calling my sister, who could only hear the sound of a screaming toddler in the background, pleading for her to come help.
All I knew is that I did not understand him and he was constantly unhappy.
At the time he loved being outside.
As soon as he knew how to ride a trike all he wanted to do was ride in the driveway, over all the cracks, and doing it all while he was BUTT NAKED! :/
He was happy outside and wanted to be out there wall the time.
As much as I knew he loved being outside, I didn’t know WHY until I learned about sensory needs.
Once I learned about sensory needs I was hooked because I realized that his screaming, fits, and tantrums decreased when he had his outside time.
Learning about sensory needs in general was like a gold mine for me, a missing puzzle piece, and an explanation for what my son was experiencing.
I now know how to give him the things he needs to keep his fits at a minimum and understand that when he has a fit it’s probably due to an unmet sensory need.
I want everyone to find the peace I did when I learned about sensory needs.
I want all parents to understand how to meet their child’s needs and minimize difficult behaviors.
Being able to see when my son is struggling and understand how to help him is a skill I wish I would have had when he was little.
Now, I watch him, and see that HE is now learning his sensory needs and is able to integrate certain activities into his routine when he feels a little low.
It’s empowering to have this information.
Is it Behavior or Sensory? Sensory Behavior Checklist
This behavior checklist is not comprehensive.
A great resource with a more comprehensive list of behaviors is the book Understanding Your Child’s Sensory Signals.
The following is a simple chart outlining common behaviors that suggest an unmet sensory need.
Do you see anything that sticks out to you?
Does your child have behaviors that fit into one or more of these categories?
Tips on Getting Sensory Help
In no way is this behavior checklist meant to diagnose any sensory disorder.
Everyone has sensory needs and aversions, which is very normal.
It is good to note these needs and be aware of them to make sure they are being met.
If your child has extreme behaviors in any one category; however, please contact a local pediatric occupational therapist who can help you and your child find the resources necessary to regulate your child’s sensory needs.
U.S. residents: If your child is not yet in elementary school and has behaviors that seem to interfere with daily life, search for local “Early Intervention” services.
Early Intervention services are provided, in some areas, to children ages 0-3 and sometimes 0-5 years.
In order to qualify for such services a child has to show signs of developmental delay or have a qualifying diagnosis.
It never hurts to contact someone about the services and have your child assessed if you suspect that there is a need.
Even if Early Intervention services are not offered, seek the help of a local Pediatric Occupational Therapist on your own.
If your child is in elementary school, make sure an IEP (Individualized Education Plan) is set in place to meet your child’s sensory needs at school.
I have personal experience with both Early Intervention services as well as Elementary School, I have seen the power of regulating sensory needs in the classroom and at home.
Please don’t hesitate to get your child the services he needs!
For further reading about Sensory Processing Disorder:
The Out-of-Sync Child: Recognizing and Coping with Sensory Processing DifferencesRaising a Sensory Smart Child: The Definitive Handbook for Helping Your Child with Sensory Processing IssuesUnderstanding Your Child’s Sensory Signals: A Practical Daily Use Handbook for Parents and TeachersThe Out-of-Sync Child Has Fun, Revised Edition: Activities for Kids with Sensory Processing Disorder
Like this behavior checklist? Read more about Sensory Processing Disorder on Mommy Evolution!
And join our inclusive community on The Sensory Spectrum.
About Wendy: I believe that being a Mom is one of the most challenging and rewarding roles in life.
That’s why I help parents to have a mindset that allows them to truly love parenting, understand challenging behavior, and all things sensory.