The following lists are common indicators of sensory or motor dysfunctions/delays in young children. If a child exhibits one or more of the following, it does not necessarily indicate dysfunction; the child’s functional performance must also be below average for his age level.
Please note: these lists are not exhaustive.
Sensory Processing Issues
Motor Planning/Praxis Issues
Speech and Language Issues
The following signs may indicate a sensory processing issues:
Frequent inability to sit and attend to a tabletop activity for an age appropriate amount of time.
Refusal to engage in messy tactile activities like finger painting.
Seeking out an excessive amount of movement input in the form of bumping or crashing into objects.
Seeking out an excessive amount of spinning input.
Fear of movement activities where feet leave the ground or when there is a change in the position of the head.
Constantly touching others, mouthing non-food objects, and seeming not to understand personal space.
Inability to independently execute a familiar sequence of motor activities.
Many children in kindergarten have a decreased attention span. This alone does not indicate a sensory integration dysfunction; the child must also have difficulty socializing, learning, or transitioning from activity to activity because of the decreased attention span.
If a child demonstrates any of these signs AND her functional performance is negatively impacted, an occupational therapy evaluation is recommended.
The following signs may indicate motor planning/praxis issues:
Inability to independently manipulate clothing fasteners
Lack of a hand dominance
Use of gross a palmar grasp to manipulate writing utensils
Inability to form shapes or letters at an age appropriate level
Inability to feed self independently with spoon, fork and/or cut with a knife
If a child exhibits any of the above fine motor signs, an occupational therapy evaluation is recommended.
Inability to move through a busy environment without bumping into things
Unable or uncoordinated running, skipping, jumping, hopping, etc.
If a child exhibits any of the above gross motor signs, a physical therapy evaluation is recommended.
The following signs may indicate speech and/or language issues:
Stuttering behaviors, repeating sounds, letters or words
Difficulty being understood by peers and adults
Difficulty with syntax-forming sentences in the correct order
Difficulty comprehending basic spatial concepts i.e. big/little, up/down