Sensory processing is an area I have always found fascinating and before a last minute change of heart, would have been the subject of my Master of Education degree final dissertation.
It is an area that was added to the diagnostic criteria when the ‘triad of impairment’ change as the diagnosis. As result, sensory processing disorder or SPD was no longer always diagnosed as a separate condition to autism. Sensory processing differences are one of the 4 key areas from the Autism Education Trust.
So what is sensory processing? Basically a difference in how sensory information is interpreted by the brain. Every one takes on sensory information and interprets it to make sense of the environment or world. If you are reading this sat on your sofa, you are interpreting sensory information…. seeing the screen, sounds around you, the position of your body, keeping your balance, the smell and taste of the bacon sandwich you have treated yourself to. What would it be like if you interpreted all of this differently? Hard to image how you would perceive this situation isn’t it? Did you realise you were having to process all that sensory information AS WELL as read my blog??!!
Olga Bogdashina suggests there are as many as 32 sensory systems working in the body, don’t worry, I am just going to focus on 7!
The 7 senses
- Auditory – processing information relating to sound.
- Vestibular – processing information on balance. Affects ability to keep balance, impacts on core strength. Affects movement, may seek or avoid movement.
- Proprioceptive (isn’t that just the most amazing word!) – processing information on where your body is in space and time, body awareness sense. Affects movement and spacial awareness of the individual and how they perceive that in others. Affects core strength
Ideas for sensory provision in lockdown
It is really useful to know what you’re child’s sensory profile is. And to complicate matters they may be hyper sensitive (over sensitive to sensory information) or hypo sensitive (under sensitive to sensory information) and this will have an impact on what you chose to do.
Ideas for calming activities
Ideas for sensory circuit activities
Where to get other ideas/ books on the subject
Sensory and Motor Strategies – Corinna Laurie (National Autistic Society Publication)
The Out of Sync Child and The Out of Sync Child Has Fun – Carol Stock Kranowitz
Sensory Circuits – A sensory motor skills programme for children – Jane Horwood
Sensory Perceptual Issues in Autism and Asperger Syndrome – Olga Bogdashina
The Autism Education Trust – sensory checklists