Sensory Processing Needs
We use our sensory systems to understand the world around us. We process information and decide how to respond through our senses. Sensory systems that absorb information about the world around us are-
Touch. Proprioception and vestibular help us feel in touch with our world and to feel grounded as a person. Proprioception is how we use our muscles to understand where our body is in space. Vestibular is the sense of how the body moves against gravity.
Learning how to process sensory-based information as it is received can be challenging for all of us at times, but this can be more difficult for children with special educational needs. We have to learn what information is important and what things to ignore e.g. when our name is called, we are able to respond even though there are other sounds in the room. Some children struggle to be able to filter this.
There are many behaviours which could indicate sensory processing needs, a few examples are below:
Running out of busy places when there are lots of visuals and/or sounds present.
This may be a child who cannot cope with processing so many different things at one time.
Seeking lots of physical movement through the day.
This may be a child who needs more information into their muscle and movement systems, to tell them where they are in space.
Sensitivity to light touch.
Your child may be very sensitive to unexpected or light touch and have an anxious response to it.
Seeking heavy touch and hugs.
Your child may seek lots of heavy touch, through hugs for example, to get more input to their touch system. This can be calming for them.
Difficulty with posture and co-ordination.
This may represent a child whose muscle and movement systems are not as efficient.
Being overloaded by visual or sound input.
This may affect their ability to concentrate
Sometimes these difficulties can go unnoticed, but if they become an issue and affect school, home life or participation in social activities then please come and see our SENDCo. We can look at some strategies we could try such as ear defenders, fidget toys etc and look at a referral to occupational therapy if needed.