Sensory Processing refers to the way a person’s nervous system receives sensory messages and how the individual responds to these sensory inputs.  These senses include sight (vision), sound (auditory), touch (tactile), taste (gustatory), body position (proprioception) and movement (vestibular). Most people receive and organize these messages effortlessly into adaptive physiological and behavioural responses, but some may either over- or under respond these tasks causing ineffective behavioural responses.

While all children can seem quirky or particular about their likes and dislikes, children with Sensory Processing Disorder (also called Sensory Integration Dysfunction) will be so severely affected by their sensory preferences that it interferes with their normal, everyday functioning. Sensory issues are usually defined as either hypersensitivity (over-responsiveness) or hyposensitivity (under-responsiveness) to sensory stimuli. Below, find some common signs of Sensory Processing Disorder.

Edulove | Sensory Input | Child Development

Hypersensitivities to sensory input may include:

  • Extreme response to or fear of sudden, high-pitched, loud, or metallic noises like flushing toilets, clanking silverware, or other noises that seem unoffensive to others
  • May notice and/or be distracted by background noises that others do not seem to hear
  • Fearful of surprise touch, avoids hugs and cuddling even with familiar adults
  • Seems fearful of crowds or avoids standing near others
  • Does not enjoy a game of tag and/or is overly fearful of swings and playground equipment
  • Extremely fearful of climbing or falling, even when there is no real danger i.e., does not like his or her feet to be off the ground
  • Has poor balance, may fall often

Edulove | Sensory Input | Child Development
Edulove | Sensory Input | Child Development

Hypersensitivities to sensory input may include:

  • A constant need to touch people or textures, even when it is inappropriate to do so
  • Does not understand personal space even when same-age peers are old enough to understand it
  • Clumsy and uncoordinated movements
  • An extremely high tolerance for or indifference to pain
  • Often harms other children and/or pets when playing, i.e., does not understand his or her own strength
  • May be very fidgety and unable to sit still, enjoys movement-based play like spinning, jumping, etc.
  • Seems to be a “thrill seeker” and can be dangerous at times
  • Brain Balance Achievement Centres