Sensory processing is our body’s ability to receive, understand, and organize incoming information from our world.² This information could be how something feels, what it looks like, how you are moving your body, what something tastes like, or the feeling of your bladder being full. Once this kind of information is received by our central nervous system, we typically have some type of physical, mental, or emotional reaction to it.
When these reactions interfere with our ability to successfully participate in the world around us, we call this sensory processing disorder. The neurological process that allows us to organize our sensations for use is called sensory integration.² Certain people might process sensory information faster or slower, or more or less than others. This can cause us to either avoid or seek out certain sensory experiences to help our body feel ‘just right’.
You may have heard about the body’s 5 senses, but there are actually 8! They are responsible for receiving different types of sensory input and sending that information to the brain to be processed.³ These senses include:
The way we process all of this information can greatly influence our ability to engage in purposeful behavior and daily occupations like brushing our hair, taking a shower, going to the bathroom, or socializing with our peers.¹ For more information on each of the specific sensory systems, ask your therapist for more guidance or grab a sensory-specific handout or see the back of this handout for book recommendations.
If your child’s sensory processing hasn’t yet been addressed in therapy but some of the things in this handout sound familiar, bring it up to your therapist and see what they think. A comprehensive evaluation of the child’s sensory processing abilities completed by an experienced therapist will be important in determining which specific senses need to be addressed to help you and your child learn more about what their body needs in order to meaningfully participate in daily activities. We are here to support you in finding a routine that is best for your child, and are dedicated to developing an individualized plan for each family! -Your Aspire Therapy Family
The Out of Sync Child by Carol Stock Kranowitz
Sensational Kids by Lucy Jane Miller
The Out of Sync Child Grows Up by Carol Stock Kranowitz
Too Loud, Too Bright, Too Fast, Too Tight by Sharon Heller