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Part of
Sensory Processing Handbook

The eight senses - guidance for practitioners in Somerset

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Part of
Sensory Processing Handbook

The eight senses - guidance for practitioners in Somerset

1

Introduction

Information on the nature of sensory processing differences and the impact they can have on children and young people's lives

Somerset SEND CharterWhat is sensory processing?Sensory processing differences or difficultiesInteroception – the eighth senseChecklists and assessments
2

The sensory system

Safe interventions for both children and young people, and groups

TactileProprioceptiveInteroceptiveVestibularVisualAuditoryOlfactoryTaste
3

School approaches

Recommendations for creating appropriate learning environments for pupils with sensory processing differences

Whole school approachClassroom strategiesWhat to do if you are concerned a pupil is experiencing sensory processing difficultiesReferring to occupational therapy

Research

A growing body of research is highlighting that we experience an eighth sense, which is called interoception. We provide more detail about this sense as it is much less known about than the other senses.

Interoception is a sense that provides information about the internal condition of our body, how our body is feeling on the inside. Interoception allows us to experience many body sensations such as a growling stomach, a dry mouth, tense muscles or a racing heart. Awareness of these body sensations enables us to experience essential emotions including hunger, fullness, thirst, pain, body temperature, the need for the bathroom, relaxation, anxiety, sadness, frustration and safety.

Your body is filled with sensory receptors that tell you where your body parts are (proprioception). These receptors are in your muscles and joints. They help you to understand what is going on around you and how your body moves within its environment. Something similar happens with Interoception, except that the receptors are inside your body’s organs and skin. All of these receptors report to your brain with information about what is happening inside your body. This all helps to regulate your body functions including hunger, thirst, bathroom needs, heart rate and digestion etc.

Interoception can also be tied to emotional regulation and your mood. A good example of this is the recent TV advertisement by Snickers®. A character is portrayed as being “hangry” or angry because they are hungry. We often experience an emotional response to what we are feeling inside our bodies. Some people may become angry or moody when they are hungry. When you begin to feel this way, most of the time you know you need to get something to eat and your mood improves.

For more information please visit: Kelly Mahler website

Last reviewed: November 29, 2023 by Helly

Next review due: May 29, 2024

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