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What is sensory processing?

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    Sensory processing refers to how we use the information provided by all of the sensations from within our body and from our environments. Our senses integrate to help us understand who we are, where we are and what is happening around us. When our senses are integrated correctly, we are able to respond appropriately to the sensation. For example, we know to take off a piece of clothing that is irritating us or we may take time to smell something we like.

    Those children who experience sensory processing difficulties seem to have difficulty coping with information in their environment. This can result in children over-responding or under-responding to sensory information and these children need support from those around them to learn and develop strategies to make their life a little bit easier. If a child does not get help when it is needed, they may become overwhelmed, overly active, fearful or upset.

    We have the following senses:

    1. Vestibular
    2. Auditory
    3. Proprioception
    4. Smell/Taste (including oral seeking)
    5. Vision
    6. Tactile

    Children with autism may over-respond or under-respond to sensory stimuli, but each child will have their own unique sensitivities. Therefore it is important to support them to prevent negative emotions.

    If you are looking for support with your child’s sensory responses, please speak to one of our occupational therapists.

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