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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

What Interoception is

Interoception is the sense of knowing what is going on inside our bodies. It includes things such as feeling hunger, thirst, temperature, pain, needing the toilet and noticing how our emotions feel.

Hypersensitive

(over sensitive)

Potential signsPotential impactStrategies to assist with learning
Potential signsThe sensation of hunger, thirst or bathroom needs can cause them to be extremely anxious. The slightest change in temperature or even hearing their own heartbeat can be extremely distracting.Potential impactThey may have trouble maintaining focus on a task because they are distracted by what is going on in their bodyStrategies to assist with learningActivities which give our body proprioceptive sensation or activities which help us to connect our physical feelings within our bodies to our emotions can be particularly helpful to start to improve interoception awareness
Potential signsFrequent trips to the toilet. Potential impactStrategies to assist with learningMindfulness and meditation encourage children to be more aware of what is going on inside their bodies.
Potential signsExtreme response when they have an accident or bump. Potential impactReluctance to engage in PE or run around at play time where heart rate increases. Strategies to assist with learningYoga focuses on listening to your body and providing good vestibular and proprioceptive input, it is helpful for developing interoception.

Hyposensitive

Hyposensitive

Potential signsPotential impactStrategies to assist with learning
Potential signsFrequent toilet accidents Potential impactAvoidance from participation in daily activities. Strategies to assist with learningMindfulness and mediation encourage children to be more aware of what is going on inside their bodies.
Potential signsDo not realise they are hungry or full. Potential impactGaining or losing significant weight. Strategies to assist with learningYoga focuses on listening to your body and providing good vestibular and proprioceptive input, it is helpful for developing interoception.
Potential signsDo not feel they are in pain or not feeling well. Potential impactStrategies to assist with learningBreathing techniques and exercises are helpful for calming, as well as paying attention to what is going on inside our bodies.
Potential signsPotential impactStrategies to assist with learningAlerting activities are a great way to talk about heart rate and breathing rate. How do you feel after exercising? Is your heart racing? How do your muscles feel? Are you breathing hard and fast or slow and steady?
Potential signsPotential impactStrategies to assist with learningCues or visual prompts that encourage children to identify body functions and feelings including using Social Stories can be useful.

Last reviewed: November 29, 2023 by Helly

Next review due: May 29, 2024

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