This is a list of reactions that show parents there is something a little unusual with their baby and want to have a clearer picture of what is happening, are these situations alarming and what do they actually mean. Here is a checklist of just a few items that might help you understand if your baby has sensory difficulties:
[ ] my baby cries a lot and often even after feeding, change of diaper or after a good sleep.
[ ] my baby stretches and has his/her legs stiff often.
[ ] my baby doesn’t move much
[ ] my baby doesn’t move his head left or right when positioned on the tummy (2-3 week old)
For infants up to 12 months:
[ ] my baby is not very active.
[ ] my baby has stiff movements.
[ ] my baby turns his/her head on only one side.
[ ] my baby’s hands shake when he/she reaches out for a toy.
[ ] my baby doesn’t respond to sudden loud sounds, continues with the activity as if nothing happened.
[ ] my baby doesn’t turn towards the source of the sound.
[ ] my baby becomes very irritable when there are more people around us who are talking, laughing or trying to communicate with the baby.
[ ] my baby doesn’t like the tummy time.
[ ] my baby cries a lot when I put him/her on the swing and rotate.
[ ] my baby cries when I hold him/her in my hands and play the “flying airplane game”.
Visual hints and Communication:
[ ] my baby doesn’t follow an object that is moving in front of his/her eyes.
[ ] my baby doesn’t look at me in the eyes.
[ ] my baby flaps his hands next to his/her eyes many times in a day (e.g. when excited or angry)
[ ] my baby doesn’t smile at all, doesn’t do goo-goos (and should be according to the age).
Proprioceptive and body scheme:
[ ] my baby doesn’t like to be cuddled / hugged.
[ ] my baby likes to stick his/her head in the couch cushions, sometimes even hits the wall a bit.
[ ] my baby doesn’t like to put his palms on the floor (e.g. while sitting).
[ ] my baby has a gag reflex or spits if I give a food item that is new, of a different texture or of a different warmth than usual.
[ ] my baby screams when I wash his/her hair or shower him.
[ ] my baby has a gag reflex or cries a lot when he/she touches foam, sand, sawdust or alike with hands.
These are some common reactions children with sensory processing disorder and some developmental disorders have. If your child has the same reactions to perhaps one or two things from the list, perhaps you don’t have to panic. Rather, call a professional in your local community and schedule a visit, check up with an OT, physical therapist, pediatrician etc. If your child has many reactions found in this list, you should definitely consider having a Sensory Integration profile done with a certified SI therapist. It’s always great to notice the difficulties early and start working on them as the results can be much greater, too. Have in mind that all kids are different and do not take this as medical advice. If you think there is something unusual about your baby, it is always better to check with a professional than to ignore.