Sensory Processing Difficulty in Infants and Toddlers

Sensory processing refers to a complex process in the brain by which we take in sensory information from the different senses and respond.  Sensory processing skills are closely linked to engagement with the outside world, ability to attend to and interact with others, and the development of play and motor skills.  Some signs/symptoms of sensory processing difficulties in infants and toddlers include the following:

  • Excessively fussy or difficult to calm
  • Dislikes being held or cuddled by caregivers
  • Does not seem to respond to caregivers when they speak or attempt to interact
  • Limited diet/picky eating behaviors (click here for more info).
  • Seems to lack desire to explore environment; very “passive” (toddlers and infants should want to explore EVERYTHING and need to be supervised closely for safety)
  • Does not put items in mouth for exploration OR excessively mouths them, interfering with play
  • Appears fearful of being tipped backward for diaper changes or during “roughhouse” play
  • For toddlers, very limited attention to new play activities OR may become absorbed in repetitive play activities for longer than expected for age (15+ minutes)
  • Constantly “on the go” with little to no sedentary/stationary play
  • Tantrums that seem more intense or prolonged than should be expected for age

Please click here for more detailed information on sensory processing disorders.