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



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

The sensory system

Safe interventions for both children and young people, and groups


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 Proprioception is

Proprioception is the conscious and unconscious awareness of body position and movement.  The proprioceptive system is the muscle and joint sense that tells the brain:

  • when and how the muscles are contracting or stretching
  • when and how the joints are flexing, extending or being pulled and pushed
  • what the body parts are doing and where they are in space
  • the force muscles are exerting

Poor proprioception

Potential signsPotential impactStrategies to assist with learning
Child in constant motion (this can also be due to other reasons such as hypermobility)Difficulties concentrating and making academic progressRegular movement breaks such as running errands
Stiff uncoordinated movementsLifting and carrying heavy loads
Poor spatial awareness, unaware of obstacles in pathway, difficulty movingRegularly bumping into things, falling over, resulting in accidently hurting themselves or othersPushing and pulling
Problematic pencil gripPoor handwriting developmentHanging by the arms
Craving deep pressure sensations such as hugging others, learning on others or on the tableBear hugs, back to back standing up
A struggle to keep their posture for long time while sittingPracticing movement without visual feedback – with closed eyes

Last reviewed: April 26, 2023 by Jenny

Next review due: October 26, 2023

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