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sensory processing

Sensory Processing

"The best education does not happen at a desk, but rather engaged in everyday living - hands on, exploring, in active relationship with life"

All children possess eight senses: tactile (touch), vestibular (movement against gravity), proprioception (sense of our body and its ‘position’ in space), auditory (sounds), oral (taste), olfactory (smell), interoception (internal awareness and emotions) and visual (sight).


Sensory processing is the neurological process which involves the detection, and organisation of sensory information from these senses. This process, referred to as sensory integration, results in the production of a behavioural response. 


Effective sensory processing is the building block for all learning and is integral for social skills, motor skills, behaviour, mealtimes, learning and self-regulation as well as focusing and attending to a task.


What are sensory processing difficulties?

A child has sensory processing difficulties when their brain has trouble receiving and organizing the information from their senses. This disruption can impact the child’s physical, social and behavioural development, functionally impacting their everyday functioning.  


A sensory seeker or a sensory avoider?

Sensory processing difficulties have many different presentations. Two examples of sensory processing difficulties are the sensory seeker and sensory avoider profiles.

A sensory seeker may be a child who is “on the go”, is a risk taker, needs to touch and experience everything, makes strange noises, gets overly excited with movement, or rushes from one activity to another


A sensory avoider may be a child who avoids crowds, covers his/her ears to filter out noises, is afraid of swings or heights, is a very picky eater, or one who prefers sedentary play.


These behavioural responses to sensory information can interfere with daily life, social development and learning.


Occupational therapy for children with sensory processing difficulties?

  • An assessment of a child’s sensory processing patterns to identify if the child’s challenges are linked to their sensory processing.

  • Individualized advice to support the child’s sensory needs throughout the day for increased participation, independence and comfort.

  • Therapy to support your child explore the sensory experiences they find challenging and to ensure their sensory needs are met.

  • Sensory integration supports children to understand and manage emotional challenges.

  • Environmental assessment and recommendations to help your child manage the sensory environment at home and/or school.


Assessment and Intervention

The Child Development Occupational Therapists can be contacted via the email link below:


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