Symptom Tests for Adults

[Self-Test] Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) in Adults

Your aversion to itchy fabrics, scented candles, and crowds could be a sign of Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). Take this self-test to better understand daily SPD symptoms, and take the results to an occupational therapist trained in sensory integration and ADHD.

Medically reviewed by Carol Stock Kranowitz, M.A.

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.

Can’t see the self-test questions above? Click here to open this test in a new window.

What To Do Next:

1. Take This Test: ADHD Symptoms in Adults
2. Take This Test: Emotional Hyperarousal in Adults with ADHD
3. Take This Test: Executive Function Disorder in Adults
4. Download Are Your Senses in Overdrive?
5. Read Hypersensitivity Is Not Imagined
6. Find an ADHD or SPD specialist nearby in our ADDitude Directory
7. Research Treatments for Sensory Processing Disorder
8. Listen to “Coping with Sensory Processing Disorder in Adolescents & Adults” – an Expert Webinar with Carol Kranowitz, M.A.
9. Consult Our Post-Diagnosis Guide for Adults

Updated on July 11, 2019

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  1. I was diagnosed with SPD as a child I think. It has gotten worst in my teen and young adult years. I struggle so much. Also SPD can be a diagnosis on its own, or it can be a symptom of Autism and/or ADHD. Living life as an adult woman with ADHD, SPD and a rare genetic disease that causes social/emotional, mental, learning, physical and developmental disabilities is SO CHALLENGING!!! I feel like there is not enough support, advocacy and resources! For example, I’ve been trying to go sweater shopping for the past 2 weeks, but my sensory problems and anxiety stops me every time. I procrastinate another day. I need someone to go with me, to get the job done!

  2. While I only scored 13% here, it isn’t exactly a thorough quiz, and made me reflect about all the little things that can paralyze me. For example–Caftans (I had to google what that was) would make me incredibly anxious, because I find the wind on my skin very distracting. I’m fine with sand on my feet, but can’t stand mud or dirt on my hands OR the restriction of gloves on my hands, much to my gardening monther’s consternation….I could keep going on and on.

  3. SBD is also known as Irlen Syndrome. Irlen Syndrome is hereditary and I only just found out that I have it because we went to a doctor that knew to test her for that while she was being tested for ADHD. And she and I have both Irlen Syndrome and ADHD Inattentive Type. I was able to afford the Irlen lenses for her (expensive and insurance doesn’t cover or recognize it even though it’s the same as SBD) and I am saving for mine because after seeing the Irlen Syndrome doc to be tested and find the color spectrum lenses I needed (because Irlen Syndrome affects each person that has it differently)…I could not believe the difference. My daughter was in third grade when she was diagnosed and is in 5th grade now and the difference is amazing.

  4. These questions are VERY specific? NeuroD folk tend to be very literal, when it says flickering lights make you nauseated, do you mean literally? Or figuratively? What if they are intolerable (shut eyes & leave) but not nauseating?

    I am instantly enraged by “unauthorised” sound. Tonight my boyf was singing quietly and I just snapped because he walked out and I was trying to concentrate. It is my only real anger trigger. I have a 50pk of earplugs but it’s not convenient for me to have them in constantly. I feel like a terrible person.

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