Signs & Symptoms

Would my child benefit from Speech Language Therapy?  If you answered “yes,” to one or more of these questions, please ask us how we can help.

Is your 2 year old non-verbal?

Does your child have difficulty following verbal directions?

Does your child repeat words and phrases WITHOUT comprehension?

Does your child have unintelligible speech with appropriate vocal inflections and gestures?

Does your child misname objects that he or she should know?

Does your child have speech production/articulation difficulties?

Does your child have difficulty with vocabulary skills, either understanding or labeling?

Does your child have trouble chewing, sucking, blowing, and/or making certain speech sounds?

Would my child benefit from Occupational Therapy or Sensory Integration Intervention?  If you answered “yes,” to one or more of these questions, please ask us how we can help.

Is your child overly sensitive or under reactive to touch, movement, sights, or sounds?

Does your child have an activity level that is unusually high or unusually low?

Is your child delayed in speech, language and/or motor skills?

Does your child have difficulties attending and focusing to age appropriate activities?

Does your child have poor organizational skills of behavioral issues?

Does your child have fine motor difficulties?

Does your child have coordination problems?

Does your child demonstrate clumsiness or awkwardness of movement?

Does your child have difficulty writing, self-feeding, self-dressing (buttons, zippers, snaps), using utensils, or difficulty with other hand skills?

Would my child benefit from a therapeutic social skills group?  Groups are a great way to address the skills mentioned below.  If you answered “yes” to one or more of these questions please ask us for more information.

Does your child have difficulty keeping up with the fast-paced social interactions in play and in peer relationship?

Does your child appear to misinterpret social cues?

Does your child have difficulty with turn taking or sharing in games?

Does your child have difficulty using age appropriate language to communicate with others? 

Does your child have difficulty being flexible in new situations?

What is Sensory Integration?

The concept of sensory integration comes from a body of work developed by A. Jeans Ayres, PhD, OTR.  As an occupational therapist, Dr. Ayres was interested in the way in which sensory processing and motor planning disorders interfere with daily life function and learning.  Sensory experiences include touch, movement, body awareness, sight, sound and pull of gravity.  The process of the brain organizing and interpreting this information is called sensory integration.  Sensory integration provides a crucial foundation for later, more complex learning and behavior. 

In most individuals effective sensory integration occurs automatically, unconsciously and without effort.  In some people, however, the process is inefficient, demanding effort and attention with no guarantee of accuracy.  When this occurs, the goals we strive for are not easily attained.  In most children, sensory develops in the course of ordinary childhood activities.

Here are a few signs of a sensory processing disorder:

  • Overly sensitive or under reactive to touch, movement, sights or sounds
  • An activity level that is unusually high or unusually low
  • Impulsive, lacking self-control
  • Lack of coordination
  • Difficulty transitioning from one activity or place to another
  • Inability to calm or relax
  • Poor sleeping habits
  • Picky or messy eater
  • Poor attention and/or auditory comprehension
  • Speech and language delays
  • Difficulty with fine and gross motor skills
  • Learning disabilities

What is Executive Function?

Executive function is a set of mental processes that helps connect past experience with present action. People use it to perform activities such as planning, organizing, strategizing, paying attention to and remembering details, and managing time and space.

If you have trouble with executive function, these things are more difficult to do. You may also show a weakness with working memory, which is like “seeing in your mind’s eye.” This is an important tool in guiding your actions.

As with other learning disabilities, problems with executive function can run in families. It can be seen at any age, but it tends to become more apparent as children move through the early elementary grades. This is when the demands of completing schoolwork independently can trigger signs of a problem with executive function.

The brain continues to mature and develop connections well into adulthood. A person’s executive function abilities are shaped by both physical changes in the brain and by life experiences, in the classroom and in the world at large. Early attention to developing efficient skills in this area can be very helpful. As a rule, it helps to give direct instruction, frequent reassurance and explicit feedback.

How Does Executive Function Affect Learning?

In school, at home or in the workplace, we’re called on all day, every day, to self-regulate behavior. Executive function allows us to:

  • Make plans
  • Keep track of time and finish work on time
  • Keep track of more than one thing at once
  • Meaningfully include past knowledge in discussions
  • Evaluate ideas and reflect on our work
  • Change our minds and make mid-course corrections while thinking, reading and writing
  • Ask for help or seek more information when we need it
  • Engage in group dynamics
  • Wait to speak until we’re called on

Recommended Reading

Becoming Verbal with Childhood Apraxia – By Pam Marshalla

More Than Words: Helping Parents Promote Communication and Social Skills in Children – By Fern Sussman

The Challenging Child – By Stanley I. Greenspan, MD

The Child with Special Needs – By Stanley I. Greenspan, MD and Serena Wieder, PhD

Parenting a Child with Sensory Processing Disorder – By Christopher Auer and Susan Blumberg

Raising a Sensory Smart Child – By Lindsey Biel, MA OTR/L and Nancy Peske

Sensational Kids – By Lucy Jane Miller, PhD, OTR

The Out-of-Sync Child – By Carol Kranowitz   

Handbook of Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorders – By Donald J. Cohen

It Takes Two to Talk – By Ayala Manolson

Emergence:  Labeled Autistic – By Temple Grandon

Special Siblings:  Growing Up with Someone with a Disability – By Mary McHugh

Tools for Tots – By Diana A. Henry and Maureen Kane-Wineland

Links to Resources

Sensory and developmental products:

Website Resources:

Developmental Delay Resources (DDR)

The KID Foundations’ SPD Network-Resources for the Sensory Processing Disorder Community

The Interdisciplinary Council on Developmental and Learning Disorders

Autism Speaks


Down Syndrome Association

College of Optometrist in Vision Development


Henry OT by Diana A. Henry

Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS)

S.I. Global Network (SIGN) Organization

The Sensory Processing Disorder Resource Center

Vital Links (Therapeutic Listening)

Zero to Three