OT or child psychologist eval for 3 year old?

Hello! My 3 year old son has exhibited sensory seeking/aggressive behaviors for about a year and a half now. I had him evaluated by our state’s EI program about a year ago and they said he did not qualify because his behaviors weren’t interfering with his other areas of development. He is VERY impulsive, active, and emotional. He just seems so disregulated most of the time. My concern now is we have an 8 month old who he is constantly pushing over, hugging too tight, hitting, etc. Should I go the OT route or Child psychologist route for these behaviors?

@Drkarenweiss any recommendations here?

@tots-mary @BreeMilani @OT-Philippines @Otholly any thoughts?

Hi! I think it would be best to have your child be evaluated by an OT to help you better understand the relationship between sensory integration, behavioral concerns, emotional regulation, and sensory seeking/avoiding behaviors. You can also try to dig deeper to understand these behaviors, try looking for the “Why’s” like why is this behavior happening, why is the child impulsive (it could be due to delays in expressive language skills).

Also, I could share an ebook that talks a lot about sensory dysfunction and strategies that you can do to help the child cope up with such difficulties.


Yes! I absolutely agree with @OT-Philippines!

The fact that you are identifying him as “dysregulated” in combination with sensory seeking, agressive, and impulsive, all point to an OT evaluation. Also, from what you’re describin, it sounds like you were noticing all of these difficulties even before the birth of your baby.

Start with an OT-evaluation first and keep us updated :heart:


For the ebook, you can try downloading this file on the internet! I’ve read all of it and I love how this book gives me more insight on different activities that I need to incoporate in my treatment plan. It also explains why some strategies aren’t effective on kids with sensory processing disorders. I hope this will help!


Hi Liz! I agree with everyone else- I would start the OT route and then see what’s left. At 3, child psychologists mostly work with parents on behavioral and emotional management at home, unless there are developmental concerns, in which case different kinds of evaluations might be recommended. In the meantime, you can also get some support around what you can do at home- check out the Big Little Feelings parenting course, and the book “How to talk so kids listen.” Dr Becky at Good Inside also has a workshop that might make you feel more in control of behavior management. Good luck!

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Yip, another vote for the OT route. I think it is important to note that impulsivity is developmentally normal for 3 year olds and it is likely that by age 5 this will be easier. However as a fellow mum of what I call a “basher and crasher”, I know how much having an understanding of sensory needs and a toolkit of sensory strategies can help in the day to day. Apart from seeking the support of an OT I would also make movement play a priority- 3 year olds need 3 hours of movement daily with at least 1 hour of that being movement that physically exterts your child.

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