Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) and ADHD

An estimated 40-60% of children with either ADHD or Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) have both conditions. Sensory Processing Disorder is a condition in which the body doesn’t react appropriately to sensory signals — certain parts of the brain don’t receive the information needed to correctly interpret sensory signals. This creates challenges in everyday tasks and can result in motor clumsiness, behavioral problems, anxiety, depression, and school failure. Usually, SPD creates a child who is a sensory avoider or a sensory seeker. Ricochet, my son with ADHD, SPD, and LDs, is most definitely a sensory seeker, as I believe most clinically hyperactive kids are. Truly, he is both a sensory seeker and avoider, but the majority is seeking. A sensory seeker might:

  • Throw themselves on the floor frequently
  • Crash or bump into walls and furniture mindlessly, but on purpose
  • Jump often
  • Seem to be more calm when carrying a heavy load
  • Be a tactile learner
  • Feel the need to touch everything
  • Chew on anything and everything, often shirt sleeves and/or pencils
  • Make noises often
  • Like to spin in circles

Occupational therapy is fantastic treatment for kids with SPD. Ricochet works on his sensory seeking, emotional regulation, social skills, handwriting, and more at weekly OT. Below you’ll find tools that correspond to occupational therapy activities often done with sensory-seeking kids.


21 Toys/Tools for Sensory Seeking Kids

Weighted Objects

Resistance Tools

Tactile Toys and Fidgets

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Hand Strengthening and Manipulation

Jumping and Bouncing



Chewing and Oral Motor

  Don’t forget to check out my post on 9 Calming Sensory Activities for Kids with ADHD too!