The Sensory Spectrum

For SPD Kiddos and Their Parents

Signs of SPD in Children – from Picky Eating to Temper Tantrums


Signs of SPD in Children – from Picky Eating to Temper Tantrums

Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) affects five to ten percent of all children.

Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) affects five to ten percent of all children – an average of one child in every classroom.

Imagine having a child who finds hugs unbearable, or a child who throws temper tantrums virtually every time he or she is taken to a restaurant or store, or a child who refuses to eat. These behaviors are daily realities for more than three million children in the United States alone.

Know the Red Flags of SPD:

  •     Overly sensitive to touch, noises, smells, or movement
  •     Floppy or stiff body, clumsy, poor motor skills or handwriting
  •     Difficulty dressing, eating, sleeping, or toilet training
  •     Frequent or lengthy temper tantrums
  •     Easily distracted, fidgety, withdrawn, or aggressive
  •     Craves movement
  •     Easily overwhelmed

Most children with SPD are just as intelligent as their peers, and many are intellectually gifted. Not all children are affected the same way. One child with SPD may over-respond to sensation, and find clothing and certain foods unbearable. Another might under-respond and show no reaction to pain, while yet another might have coordination problems.

Dr. Lucy Jane Miller, founder of the SPD Foundation, provides parents with background information about SPD and common sense strategies for helping children with sensory issues in her books, “Sensational Kids” and “No Longer A SECRET.” According to Miller, “SPD is not a reflection of bad behavior, and it is not caused by bad parenting. In fact, it’s not ‘bad’ at all. It’s physiologic in nature.”

Treatment for SPD typically involves occupational therapy, which enables children to participate in the normal activities of childhood, such as playing with friends, enjoying school, eating, dressing, and sleeping. Depending on the child’s symptoms, other types of treatment might also be recommended, including feeding programs, listening therapy, speech and language therapy, or the DIR® Floortime model.

To purchase the books mentioned, please click the following:


Author: Jennifer

Jennifer is a mom evolving as she navigates the waters of parenthood as well as having two children with sensory processing disorder and sharing her knowledge. She writes Mommy Evolution and The Sensory Spectrum.

3 thoughts on “Signs of SPD in Children – from Picky Eating to Temper Tantrums

  1. I have recently discovered your page and am thinking I have finally found a reason for my daughters behaviour. She is 6 yrs old and absolutely struggles some days to get dressed because her clothes dont feel ‘nice’ She has always been a quirky child, fighting any sort of change, and when things get to much we will find her on the floor rocking her leg. Others think we are over sensitive but it is not normal for your child to scream in fear when she has to put her clothes on because of the feel. I feel like I can go back to the Dr’s with some ammo now. Thank you!

    • I’m so glad you found us! Many peds aren’t educated in sensory issues so be prepared that he/she may not really understand the issues or next steps.

    • Hi karen- i just saw your post- my daughter has the same symptoms and also throws huge tantrums when overstimulated- we recently had her diagnosed with SPD and things are getting better with the help of an OT. theres some great info out there- the out of sync child was one i found useful also
      Good luck!

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