As kids grow older, their sensory processing issues may appear differently. Young children with sensory processing issues might be extremely fussy. In grade school, they might be awkward and have difficulty with transitions. And as teenagers, they may have trouble figuring out personal space. Learn more about how you can expect symptoms to change over time.

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How Your Child’s Sensory Processing Issues May Change Over Time

Kids don’t outgrow sensory processing issues. But the signs change as kids get older. Here’s what you might see.

Baby
• Feels limp or stiff when held
• Doesn’t want to be cuddled
• Has problems eating or sleeping
• Can’t calm self; is extremely fussy
• Constantly needs to touch people or objects

Preschooler
• Is fussy about how clothes and shoes feel
• Constantly moves around; can’t seem to get comfortable
• Has frequent temper tantrums
• Is oversensitive to smells, lights and noise
• Finds the playground overwhelming

Grade-schooler
• May play too rough with others
• Appears awkward in social settings
• Has trouble with writing utensils, buttons, zippers, etc.
• Has a hard time making transitions between places or activities

Middle-schooler
• Is afraid to try new things
• Acts impulsively
• Doesn’t finish tasks; is easily distracted and fidgety
• Struggles to understand personal space
• Has clumsy, uncoordinated movements; has trouble playing sports

High-schooler
• Feels anxious or depressed in social settings
• Is resistant to changes in routine or trying new things
• Has trouble staying focused
• Is slow to complete tasks
• Has difficulty understanding and responding to physical touch, which can cause trouble with dating

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