Sensory Processing Disorder Symptoms Test for Adults

VIDEO: Signs and symptoms of Sensory Processing Disorder

What causes sensory overload? If you find itchy tags unbearable, loud music intolerable, and perfume simply sickening, you may have Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) — a condition that disrupts the way the brain takes in, organizes, and uses the messages received through the eyes, ears, muscles, joints, skin and inner ears. SPD may cause sensory overload, but it may also cause you to crave sensory stimulation through deep-tissue massages, winding motorcycle rides, or skydiving adventures. The manifestations of SPD are varied — and sometimes contradictory — making diagnosis difficult.

If you avoid hugs, hate flossing your teeth, just can’t tolerate scented candles, have always felt clumsy, or can't get dressed without a mirror, take this self-test to better understand the daily manifestations of SPD symptoms in adults. Then share the results with an occupational therapist or a medical professional who is knowledgeable about SPD for an evaluation.

Adapted from the SPD Foundation’s Sensory Processing Disorder Checklist designed to to screen the possibility of sensory processing disorder. Note: This is not a diagnostic tool. If you have concerns about possible Sensory Processing Disorder see a mental health professional. An accurate diagnosis can only be made through clinical evaluation. Screener for personal use only.

Hugs even from those I'm close to can make me feel uncomfortable.

The thought of having to walk through the sand to get to the ocean or a lake can ruin the fun of a swim.

My handwriting is illegible. I'm told I have "difficult-to-read" penmanship.

I wear anything that’s loose and flowy, like caftans.

The sound of a dripping faucet or a crack of sunlight coming in from around my shades wakes me out of the deepest sleep.

Being in a crowded elevator makes me want to break out and run.

I avoid some foods because of the texture. I would rather go hungry than eat a mushy banana.

Flickering lights — or even worse, strobe lights — send me over the edge. I’m instantly nauseous.

I prefer to wear tagless shirts and seamless socks. I cut the tags out of my clothes and would rather go naked than wear wool.

When I’m in a car with other people, I’m always asking, “Can we turn down the radio volume?”

Daily activities can be hard to do if I'm not able to see what I'm doing. I can’t get dressed or brush my teeth without looking in a mirror. I can’t find the seat belt in my car without twisting to see it. When I type on the keyboard, I have to look at what my fingers are doing.

I enjoy high-adrenaline activities. There’s nothing more thrilling than riding in the first car of a rollercoaster, except maybe riding my road bike at top speed and zip-lining from tree tops.

When everyone else is sweating or shivering, I’m usually somewhere in the middle.

I find myself bumping into things a lot, knocking stuff over, and tripping over my own feet.

I avoid walking through the perfume department at all costs. Scented candles — even the most subtle ones — bother me.

I avoid public speaking. The bright spotlight, the possibility of falling off the stage, and the squawking mic make me very anxious.

(Optional) Would you like to receive your sensory processing disorder symptom test results — plus more helpful resources — via email from ADDitude?

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Sensory Processing Disorder: Next Steps

VIDEO: Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)

1. Take This Test: Emotional Hyperarousal in Adults with ADHD
2. Read Hypersensitivity Is Not Imagined
3. Read 3 Defining Features of ADHD That Everyone Overlooks
4. Read What is Sensory Processing Sensitivity?
5. Take This Test: Executive Function Disorder in Adults
6. Download Are Your Senses in Overdrive?
7. Find an ADHD or SPD specialist nearby in our ADDitude Directory
8. Research Treatments for Sensory Processing Disorder