Your Senses and Sensory Processing Disorder SPD – Sensory Wise

  • Your Sensory System
  • How your senses work together
  • Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)
  • Our Sensory System with SPD
  • The signs of SPD

our-senses-and-spd-sensory-wiseYour Sensory System

Understanding your sensory systems and Sensory Processing Disorder will help you get the most from our services here at Sensory Wise.

Your sensory system gives you the information you need to be able to go about your daily life and function. You probably recognise the five main senses. These are:

  • Touch (Tactile)
  • Hearing (Auditory)
  • Sight (Visual)
  • Smell (Olfactory)
  • Taste and Oral Motor (Gustatory)

However, there are two more vital sensory systems you need to be aware of:

  • Balance (Vestibular) and
  • Body Awareness (Proprioception)

These sensory systems help you with your movement and the position of your body.

Let’s take a look at these senses and sensory systems in more detail. Doing this will help you understand your senses and SPD.

BALANCE = YOUR VESTIBULAR SYSTEM

Where is your vestibular system? It’s located in your inner ear.

What is it for? Your vestibular system helps you balance. It relates you to gravity and gives you the sensation of the weight of your body. It also helps you detect movement, speed, direction and gives you a sense of where you are (for example, standing, sitting, falling, or turning your head).

Your sense of balance (or your vestibular system) gives you a sense of safety. For example, you know when you have your feet on the ground or your bottom on a seat. This sensory system also helps your brain organise and process what is being said to you (so you can develop language, comprehension and speech).

BODY AWARENESS = YOUR PROPRIOCEPTIVE SYSTEM

Where is your proprioceptive system? It’s located in your muscles and joints.

What is it for? Your proprioceptive system enables you to perceive muscle movements. It helps you co-ordinate all your movements, from your tongue to your limbs. Examples of these movements could include: combing your hair, or catching or kicking a ball.

Your proprioceptive system also gives you a sense of how much pressure you’re applying to something, such as when you’re writing or working out how hard to press down on something. This sensory system is also really important for attention.

TOUCH = YOUR TACTILE SYSTEM

Where is your tactile system? It’s located in your skin and mouth.

What is it for? Your sense of touch (or your tactile system) helps give your brain information about temperature, pressure, touch, and pain. It helps alert you to any dangers in your environment and enables you to discover the world through touching things.

Your tactile system also gives you a sense of safety, helping you bond with others and develop socially and emotionally.

It’s important for your touch, body awareness and balance systems to work together efficiently, because this is vital for your speech and language, learning and academic abilities.

HEARING = YOUR AUDITORY SYSTEM

Where is your auditory system? It’s located in your ears.

What is it for? Your auditory system enables you to pick up soundwaves from people speaking and your environment. These soundwaves are then sent to your brain to be interpreted.

Your sense of hearing is vital for communication and attention, because it helps you know where sounds are coming from. It also helps you differentiate between sounds and is closely related to your sense of balance.

SIGHT = YOUR VISUAL SYSTEM

Where is your visual system? It’s located in your eyes.

What is it for? Your visual  system helps you make sense of what you see and how clearly you see objects.

Your sense of sight is important for tracking, where you move your eyes without turning your head. It also helps you co-ordinate movement, such as handwriting or catching a ball.

The visual system helps you find patterns and recognise the differences between objects which appear similar (such as the letters b, p, d, q, or the shapes and sizes of Lego pieces).

Your sense of sight is important for attention, emotional tagging and motivation.

SMELL = YOUR OLFACTORY SYSTEM

Where is your olfactory system? It’s located in your nose.

What is it for? Your olfactory system provides your brain with information about different types of smells. It’s vital for emotional memory, motivation, and for storing long-term memories – this is why certain smells can evoke memories.

Your sense of smell is closely related to your sense of taste and everyone’s olfactory system is based on the individual. This is why some foods taste good or bad to some people, and why a smell that’s calming and pleasant to one person can be alarming or repulsive to another.

TASTE = YOUR GUSTATORY SYSTEM

Where is your gustatory system? It’s located in your mouth.

What is it for? You rely on your sense of taste to eat, drink, or even blow up a balloon. Input to the gustatory system can be either calming or alerting to your nervous system.

For example, foods which are sour, salty, or cold can be alerting, while those which are sweet or warm can be calming.

Your sense of taste is closely related to your sense of smell, so when your nose is covered (or you have a blocked nose), you’ll also notice your food tastes bland.

We’ve created the graphic below to give you a handy guide to how the senses work.

Just right-click and ‘save as’ to download this to your computer and print it out.

Our Senses

The Sensory Wise Resource Hub is a free comprehensive special needs information resource.

Easy to read and jargon free, the Sensory Wise Resource Hub is written and designed by a parent to help support other parents, carers, relatives and professionals who work with children and adults.

Get to grips with the complex topic of sensory processing difficulties and Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) a neurological condition commonly experienced by many people in mainstream education and employment and, in particular, people on the Autistic Spectrum.

Being Sensory Wise is not just about knowing what our senses are but also how they work together and impact on our daily lives. When our senses are not working together effectively, life can be challenging and frustrating. This can affect how we interact with others, behave, feel and learn.

Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) and sensory difficulties are hidden differences that can present themselves as social, emotional, learning and behaviour problems. By looking closer at our sensory processing we can learn to understand how vital it is to everyday life and how sometimes the smallest changes can make the biggest difference.

Resource Hub Contents

Here is a glimpse of what you will find in the Sensory Wise Resource Hub:

Your Sensory System and Sensory Processing Disorder

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What we can do

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SENSORY WISE SUPPORT INCLUSION AND LIFELONG LEARNING

Sensory Wise Training and Workshops

The information and links provided on our website are a great starting point for anyone who is looking to learn more about sensory processing difficulties.

Sensory Wise Training and Workshops can help you to learn more about the complex topic of sensory processing disorders (SPD).

You will be able to extend your knowledge and further understand how you can support children and adults better.

Book the Sensory Wise Pop-Up Shop for the end of the session.

To enquire about Sensory Wise Training and Workshops please complete the form below:

SEND US A MESSAGE

Please, insert your name
Please, insert your email
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sensory-integration-spd-sensory-wiseSensory Integration: How Your Senses Work Together

What is Sensory Integration and how is this affected by Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)? To help you understand more about your senses and SPD, it’s important to remember this:

YOUR BRAIN IS A SENSORY PROCESSING MACHINE

Your brain and central nervous system interpret and organise the sensory messages they receive from your body and the world around you. They work together to turn these sensory messages into your physical and behavioural responses. This is a neurological process known as Sensory Integration.

From early childhood, Sensory Integration lays the foundations for academic learning and social understanding. The time from when you’re born up to the age of 10 is a particularly important time for developing efficient Sensory Integration and it continues throughout your life.

Sensory Integration and Your Natural Body Rhythm

Sensory Integration is an element of your natural body rhythm and is part of what makes you who you are. Whether you are sleeping, eating, getting dressed, riding a bike, reading a book or simply listening to someone talk, to do any of these things successfully requires Sensory Integration.

Your sensory integration can impact how you feel, interact with others and react in a situation or new environment. In many ways, it also helps keep you safe from harm and danger.

When you process sensory information ‘normally’ you are naturally and almost effortlessly able to function and maintain control of your movements, emotions, and behaviour. This enables you to focus, play, listen to instruction and effectively communicate.

Sensory Processing Disorder is when Sensory Integration does not develop as efficiently as it should. The ‘messages’ the brain is receiving are mixed up and the nervous system has difficulty organising them into the appropriate responses.

Sensory processing disorder can affect children and adults and causes difficulties with:

  • Attention and behaviour
  • Social skills, including their self-esteem
  • Play skills
  • Movement, balance and coordination
  • Fine and gross motor skills
  • Daily living and routines such as sleeping, eating or getting dressed

The Sensory Wise Resource Hub is a free comprehensive special needs information resource.

Easy to read and jargon free, the Sensory Wise Resource Hub is written and designed by a parent to help support other parents, carers, relatives and professionals who work with children and adults.

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Get to grips with the complex topic of sensory processing difficulties and Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) a neurological condition commonly experienced by many people in mainstream education and employment and, in particular, people on the Autistic Spectrum.

Being Sensory Wise is not just about knowing what our senses are but also how they work together and impact on our daily lives. When our senses are not working together effectively, life can be challenging and frustrating. This can affect how we interact with others, behave, feel and learn.

Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) and sensory difficulties are hidden differences that can present themselves as social, emotional, learning and behaviour problems. By looking closer at our sensory processing we can learn to understand how vital it is to everyday life and how sometimes the smallest changes can make the biggest difference.

Resource Hub Contents

Here is a glimpse of what you will find in the Sensory Wise Resource Hub:

Your Sensory System and Sensory Processing Disorder

What we can do

[/vc_column][/vc_row]

SENSORY WISE SUPPORT INCLUSION AND LIFELONG LEARNING

Sensory Wise Training and Workshops

The information and links provided on our website are a great starting point for anyone who is looking to learn more about sensory processing difficulties.

Sensory Wise Training and Workshops can help you to learn more about the complex topic of sensory processing disorders (SPD).

You will be able to extend your knowledge and further understand how you can support children and adults better.

Book the Sensory Wise Pop-Up Shop for the end of the session.

To enquire about Sensory Wise Training and Workshops please complete the form below:

SEND US A MESSAGE

Please, insert your name
Please, insert your email
Please, insert the message

about-sensory-processing-disorder-sensory-wiseSensory Processing Disorder (SPD)

Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) – When messages to the brain get mixed up.

Sensory processing disorder occurs when our bodies sensory integration does not develop and work as efficiently as it should. This causes the ‘messages’ the brain is receiving from our sensory systems to become mixed up and the central nervous system has difficulty organising them into the appropriate responses. Sensory processing disorders affect up to 20% of the population and can occur across the lifespan.

For children, in particular those who have difficulty communicating, the mixed messages their brain is receiving can be incredibly frustrating and their behaviour can be misinterpreted. Children with SPD may be labelled as ‘naughty’ or a ‘problem child’ in the classroom for either being overactive or under-active and disengaged.

Sensory processing disorder can affect children and adults and causes difficulties with:

  • Attention and behaviour
  • Social skills, including their self-esteem
  • Play skills
  • Movement, balance and coordination
  • Fine and gross motor skills
  • Daily living and routines such as sleeping, eating or getting dressed

Difficulties in one or more of these areas can be experienced by anyone, at any age. You can be born with sensory processing difficulties or they can develop later in life, more commonly referred to as sensory impairments and mobility impairments.

Sensory difficulties can exist without any other health diagnosis. They are also commonly found with many other neurological and physiological conditions:

  • Autism
  • ADHD
  • Dyslexia
  • Dyspraxia
  • Downs Syndrome
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Fragile X Syndrome
  • Irlans Syndrome
  • Pervasive Developmental Disorder

The difficulties a child or an adult with SPD encounters can lead to low self-esteem, isolation and avoidance of certain activities impacting on both their relationships and their learning. Life with SPD can be more challenging and mean the world in which we live can be all the more confusing, difficult to navigate and cope with. Anxiety, depression, OCD and stress related disorders are common in adults with sensory processing disorders.

Sensory strategies are always worth exploring. But, there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach. Understanding how our sensory systems work and the different types of sensory processing disorders is important for you to be able to choose the right sensory strategies and that will provide the most benefit.

The Sensory Wise Resource Hub is a free comprehensive special needs information resource.

Easy to read and jargon free, the Sensory Wise Resource Hub is written and designed by a parent to help support other parents, carers, relatives and professionals who work with children and adults.

[/vc_column_text]

Get to grips with the complex topic of sensory processing difficulties and Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) a neurological condition commonly experienced by many people in mainstream education and employment and, in particular, people on the Autistic Spectrum.

Being Sensory Wise is not just about knowing what our senses are but also how they work together and impact on our daily lives. When our senses are not working together effectively, life can be challenging and frustrating. This can affect how we interact with others, behave, feel and learn.

Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) and sensory difficulties are hidden differences that can present themselves as social, emotional, learning and behaviour problems. By looking closer at our sensory processing we can learn to understand how vital it is to everyday life and how sometimes the smallest changes can make the biggest difference.

Resource Hub Contents

Here is a glimpse of what you will find in the Sensory Wise Resource Hub:

Your Sensory System and Sensory Processing Disorder

What we can do

[/vc_column][/vc_row]

SENSORY WISE SUPPORT INCLUSION AND LIFELONG LEARNING

Sensory Wise Training and Workshops

The information and links provided on our website are a great starting point for anyone who is looking to learn more about sensory processing difficulties.

Sensory Wise Training and Workshops can help you to learn more about the complex topic of sensory processing disorders (SPD).

You will be able to extend your knowledge and further understand how you can support children and adults better.

Book the Sensory Wise Pop-Up Shop for the end of the session.

To enquire about Sensory Wise Training and Workshops please complete the form below:

SEND US A MESSAGE

Please, insert your name
Please, insert your email
Please, insert the message

sensory-system-with-spd-sensory-wiseOur Senses and SPD – The Sensory System with SPD

Here you will find information on how each of our sensory systems is impacted when we have SPD.

Regarding our senses and SPD, key signs to look out for in children include:

BALANCE = YOUR VESTIBULAR SYSTEM

  • A fear of heights
  • Difficulty sitting still or always moving and seeking movement
  • A dislike of tilting their heads or being upside down
  • Appearing to be clumsy or lacking typical motor movement co-ordination
  • Difficulty riding a bike, jumping, hopping, or balancing on one foot
  • Can be a thrill-seeker at times and does not see risk or danger
  • Rocking or spinning excessively

BODY AWARENESS = YOUR PROPRIOCEPTIVE SYSTEM

  • Applies too much pressure when writing or colouring-in
  • Appears too rough when touching other children or animals
  • Seems clumsy, uncoordinated and has difficulty performing everyday activities
  • May enjoy tight clothing or lots of layers
  • Always full of energy, on the go, loud and active
  • Walks with heavy feet and sounds like they’re stomping
  • Fidgety when seated

TOUCH = YOUR TACTILE SYSTEM

  • Bothered by clothing, such as socks, tags, or certain materials
  • Touching things constantly
  • Avoids groups of children and may fear unexpected touch
  • Avoids outdoor play and may dislike the feel of wind on their skin
  • Difficulty holding a pencil or using scissors
  • Dislikes finger painting and using glue or clay
  • May walk on their toes

HEARING = YOUR AUDITORY SYSTEM

  • May be extremely sensitive to auditory input and appear stressed or anxious
  • Covers their ears when exposed to sudden or loud noises
  • Has difficulty determining where a sound is coming from
  • Distracted by seemingly normal background noises and unable to filter them out
  • Either some delay or confusion when following verbal directions
  • May have normal hearing, but has difficulty organising, interpreting, or remembering auditory input

SIGHT = YOUR VISUAL SYSTEM

  • Difficulty maintaining eye contact
  • Has trouble copying information from one place or page to another
  • Struggles to keep pace while reading
  • Has difficulty tracking a moving object
  • Gets tired with reading or homework
  • Exhibits characteristics of dyslexia, such as reversing words or letters when copying
  • Difficulty judging space or distance

SMELL = YOUR OLFACTORY SYSTEM

  • Sensitive to even pleasant or normal smells, causing stress and anxiety
  • Refuses to eat certain foods due to their smell
  • Bothered by typical household or cooking scents and perfumes or aftershaves
  • Determines whether they like someone based on how they smell
  • Excessively smelling something when introduced to objects, people, or places
  • Uses smell to interact with objects
  • Seeks strong odours

TASTE = YOUR GUSTATORY SYSTEM

  • Fussy or picky eater who prefers to eat foods with familiar tastes and textures
  • Only eats ‘soft’ or pureed foods past two years of age and may gag with textured foods
  • Has difficulty sucking, chewing, and/or swallowing
  • Fearful of going to the dentist or having dental treatment
  • Dislikes or complains about toothpaste and/or mouthwash
  • May lick, taste, or chew on inedible objects past the toddler years
  • Complains or reacts adversely to smells

We’ve created the graphic below to give you a handy guide to our senses and SPD.

Just right-click and ‘save as’ to download this to your computer and print it out.

Our Sensor System with SPD

The Sensory Wise Resource Hub is a free comprehensive special needs information resource.

Easy to read and jargon free, the Sensory Wise Resource Hub is written and designed by a parent to help support other parents, carers, relatives and professionals who work with children and adults.

[/vc_column_text]

Get to grips with the complex topic of sensory processing difficulties and Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) a neurological condition commonly experienced by many people in mainstream education and employment and, in particular, people on the Autistic Spectrum.

Being Sensory Wise is not just about knowing what our senses are but also how they work together and impact on our daily lives. When our senses are not working together effectively, life can be challenging and frustrating. This can affect how we interact with others, behave, feel and learn.

Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) and sensory difficulties are hidden differences that can present themselves as social, emotional, learning and behaviour problems. By looking closer at our sensory processing we can learn to understand how vital it is to everyday life and how sometimes the smallest changes can make the biggest difference.

Resource Hub Contents

Here is a glimpse of what you will find in the Sensory Wise Resource Hub:

Your Sensory System and Sensory Processing Disorder

What we can do

[/vc_column][/vc_row]

SENSORY WISE SUPPORT INCLUSION AND LIFELONG LEARNING

Sensory Wise Training and Workshops

The information and links provided on our website are a great starting point for anyone who is looking to learn more about sensory processing difficulties.

Sensory Wise Training and Workshops can help you to learn more about the complex topic of sensory processing disorders (SPD).

You will be able to extend your knowledge and further understand how you can support children and adults better.

Book the Sensory Wise Pop-Up Shop for the end of the session.

To enquire about Sensory Wise Training and Workshops please complete the form below:

SEND US A MESSAGE

Please, insert your name
Please, insert your email
Please, insert the message

signs-of-spd-sensory-wiseThe signs of SPD

SENSORY OVERLOAD! When we consider being in a busy classroom, shopping centre or office the average person can tune out background noise and other distractions. For a person with SPD, this extra sensory input can overload the nervous system, causing a physical stress response such as a ‘fight or flight’ instinct or a ‘freeze’ response for some.

As adults, we learn to develop our own coping mechanisms for dealing with our sensory differences. For example, these might be turning the radio down to concentrate better when driving, biting our nails, avoiding shopping at busy times, choosing to work in a small quiet office instead of a busy call centre, or putting our headphones on while we travel or work.

For children with sensory processing difficulties, in particular those who have difficulty communicating, the mixed messages their brain is receiving can be incredibly frustrating and their behaviour can be misinterpreted.

The signs of SPD can also be interpreted as challenging behaviours and just kids being kids. We all have sensory preferences and react to things in our own unique ways. But, this does not mean we all have SPD, we’re just human!

There are things that can affect our sensory balance, such as illness or level of physical activity. When deciding if you or someone you know has SPD, it is the unusual and persistent reactions to touch or movement which can make life challenging that you should be looking out for.

We hope the information contained in this guide to our senses and SPD makes it easier to spot these signs.

There are typically three types of SPD: Sensory Modulation, Sensory Discrimination and Sensory Motor. While some people may experience difficulties with only one area or type of SPD, it is common for to exhibit behaviours that are characteristic of more than one type of SPD.

Signs of SPD

If you think you or someone you know many have a type of sensory processing disorder, there is help there, and you can access services to help identify difficulties and provide support. The level of support and types of services available does differ in each borough/ local authority.

It is crucial that families have the involvement of a qualified professional, such as an occupational therapist or speech and language therapist, who has received training in Sensory Integration therapy and interventions.

The Sensory Wise Resource Hub is a free comprehensive special needs information resource.

Easy to read and jargon free, the Sensory Wise Resource Hub is written and designed by a parent to help support other parents, carers, relatives and professionals who work with children and adults.

[/vc_column_text]

Get to grips with the complex topic of sensory processing difficulties and Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) a neurological condition commonly experienced by many people in mainstream education and employment and, in particular, people on the Autistic Spectrum.

Being Sensory Wise is not just about knowing what our senses are but also how they work together and impact on our daily lives. When our senses are not working together effectively, life can be challenging and frustrating. This can affect how we interact with others, behave, feel and learn.

Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) and sensory difficulties are hidden differences that can present themselves as social, emotional, learning and behaviour problems. By looking closer at our sensory processing we can learn to understand how vital it is to everyday life and how sometimes the smallest changes can make the biggest difference.

Resource Hub Contents

Here is a glimpse of what you will find in the Sensory Wise Resource Hub:

Your Sensory System and Sensory Processing Disorder

What we can do

[/vc_column][/vc_row]

SENSORY WISE SUPPORT INCLUSION AND LIFELONG LEARNING

Sensory Wise Training and Workshops

The information and links provided on our website are a great starting point for anyone who is looking to learn more about sensory processing difficulties.

Sensory Wise Training and Workshops can help you to learn more about the complex topic of sensory processing disorders (SPD).

You will be able to extend your knowledge and further understand how you can support children and adults better.

Book the Sensory Wise Pop-Up Shop for the end of the session.

To enquire about Sensory Wise Training and Workshops please complete the form below:

SEND US A MESSAGE

Please, insert your name
Please, insert your email
Please, insert the message