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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



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 it means

Taste is triggered by the chemical content of substances in the environment. The chemical particles are picked up by receptor sites on the tongue. There are four tastes perceived: sweet, sour, bitter and salty.

Children have more taste buds than adults so they usually have a more highly developed sense of taste. A child may have difficulties perceiving taste of be oversensitive to strong tastes, which can lead to issues at mealtimes.

Touch and pressure receptors in the mouth perceive information about texture and sensation of food. Taste also works very closely with smell. It is rare to taste something without smell, as our smell sensation elaborates on the information received about food.



Potential signsPotential impactStrategies to assist with learning
Potential signsFussy, picky eatersPotential impactReduced variety of foods eatenStrategies to assist with learningInvolve children in food activities but remove pressure to try/taste products
Potential signsPotential impactWeight lossStrategies to assist with learningAgree with the child which new foods they will try each week. Start with asking them to smell the foods and then move on at their pace to lick, taste and eat the food
Potential signsDislike strong tastePotential impactAvoidance of activities, such as participating in group work where food and taste are involvedStrategies to assist with learningRemove pressures in lunch hall to eat what’s put in front of them
Potential signsPotential impactStrategies to assist with learningTry to explore variety of tastes (sweet, sour, salty, bitter) in a variety of textures (soft, hard, crunchy) to expand variety of foods.



Potential signsPotential impactStrategies to assist with learning
Potential signsTeasing and licking of non-food items such as pencils and sleevesPotential impactDangers involved from chewing non-food itemsStrategies to assist with learningCognitive strategies to verbalise the danger in liking non edible items.
Potential signsFood crammingPotential impactStrategies to assist with learning
Potential signsPreference for strong tastes such as chilli and lemonsPotential impactStrategies to assist with learning

Last reviewed: November 29, 2023 by Helly

Next review due: May 29, 2024

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