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Sensory processing issues

Sensory Processing Issues: What You’re Seeing in Your Preschooler

By Erica Patino

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Many children with sensory processing issues start out as fussy babies who become anxious preschoolers. The following signs are typical of sensory processing issues for children at this stage, but they can be signs of other issues like ADHD or dyspraxia.

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Sensory Processing Issues: What You’re Seeing in Your Preschooler

It’s not uncommon to notice signs of sensory processing issues during the preschool years. Here are a few of the many behaviors you might observe.

Is Very Picky About Clothing
At home: Getting your child dressed is a daily struggle.
At school: Your child refuses to put on her jacket or sweater before going out to recess.
The issue: Kids with sensory processing issues can be very sensitive to the way clothing feels. They might recoil from an itchy sweater or stiff new shoes.

Throws Frequent, Long Temper Tantrums
At home: Your child gets extremely upset over tiny changes in environment or routines.
At school: Your child has a meltdown when she enters a noisy, bright classroom.
The issue: Kids with sensory processing issues might feel anxious about new or intense sights and sounds. This can cause them to lash out.

Can’t Stop Touching People or Objects
At home: Your child constantly rubs against you or strokes you.
At school: Your child plays with objects throughout the classroom—even when she should be doing other things.
The issue: Kids with sensory processing issues may be unable to regulate the urge to touch people and things.

Frequently Gets Hurt
At home: Your child frequently bumps into hard surfaces. Even though it hurts, she doesn’t seem to be more careful in the future.
At school: Your child cries again and again when she falls off playground equipment. She may also play roughly with her peers.
The issue: Kids with sensory processing issues can have trouble gauging how to use their bodies in different settings and with different people.
Graphic of Sensory processing issues: What you're seeing in your preschooler
Graphic of Sensory processing issues: What you're seeing in your preschooler

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About the Author

Portrait of Erica Patino

Erica Patino

Erica Patino is an online writer and editor who specializes in health and wellness content.

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Reviewed by Sheldon H. Horowitz, Ed.D. Feb 14, 2014 Feb 14, 2014

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