How do you know the difference?
My 5 yo doesn't like loud noises; i.e. toilet flushing, fire crackers, splash parks/water spraying, crowds to name a few. She doesn't like to sleep in clothes, she's tried but then ends up taking them off and she doesn't like to wear jeans. She complains about her feet being hot and doesn't like socks or any closed toe shoes. And when talking a bath or shower she freaks out when she loose hairs stick to her body (loose hairs from scalp). She also doesn't like her hair brushed and the slightest tangle and she'll scream.
There are more, just can't think of them right now.
ETA: She doesn't like to be upside, up high, being swung around, merry-go-rounds. She wouldn't actually go on playground equipment until she was about 4 1/2. Except for swings, she absolutely loves swings and would swing anytime at recess at pre-k or at the playground. She has problems with bridges, docks, (even if they are only a few feet off the ground). Can't look at certain foods, i.e. if her sister is eating oatmeal, spinach, cottage cheese, soup, etc... we have to put a cereal box up to block her view of the food.
It's a sensory "issue" when it prevents the child from doing or enjoying things that "normal" kids do and enjoy. What is her quality of life? Is she happy? If so, then she's just quirky. If she's miserable because she feels like she's different or missing out on things, then she needs OT. HTH
I would say sensory. She's a little old to be that quirky and it not be sensory. Plus, when it interrupts a bath or mealtime, it varies on disorder. You'll want to get it checked out. Basically, kids of this age should be learning to adapt a little bit more.
A good book to read would be Out of Synch Kids. It's a nice introduction to all aspects of sensory and told me my son had issues. (He's senosry-seeking, a real dangerous type of kid, looking for all types of thrills. He's 2 and going up the big kid slide to his mother's heart palpitations and his ultimate joy.)
nice posts already -- interring with normal life means it's an issue. "Out of Sync Child" is the like the bible.
another book I love is "Quirky Kids: when to worry and when not to worry" by Klass. It's about sensory issues as well as several other issues (such as high functioning autism, nonverbal LD, etc.). Awesome book about parenting a child who is a little different, has the feel of a hug from a friend who has BTDT.
It's going to get better.
but everything has pros and cons
Yep -- we had our son assessed when it became clear that he wasn't outgrowing these things and his sensory issues were preventing him from doing things he wanted to .
Another good book is "Sensational Kids" by Lucy Jane ****** (the primary person who does research in this area).