Part of
Sensory Processing Handbook

The eight senses - guidance for practitioners in Somerset

Navigate this page

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 is

The vestibular system is the balance sense.  It tells us:

  • where the body is in relation to gravity for example, when you are spinning, jumping and swinging
  • whether we are moving or standing still
  • how fast we are going and in what direction
  • where our body is in space.


(over sensitive)

Potential signsPotential impactStrategies to assist with learning
Fearful reactions to ordinary movementsAvoid physical activities.Allow alternative activities that do not require high vestibular input such as activities when sitting or standing up straight. Allow activities where the movement is controlled by the CYP and not by others.
Difficulty climbing or descending stairs or hills
Apprehensive about walking on uneven surfaces
Motion induced sickness such as fairground rides and cars
Fear of feet being off the ground
Difficulties rolling, laying on back and lifting legs in the air
Difficulties in positions where the head is down.



Potential signsPotential impactStrategies to assist with learning
Seeking intense movement experiences, for example body whirling, jumping or spinning, crashing, being upside down and runningDifficulties concentrating Allow movement breaks to fulfil the need for movement, that the CYP is expected to participate well in activities.
Struggling to sit still. May disturb others in the classroom Movement breaks should include proprioceptive activities.
Sit on air cushion or gym ball.
Allow CYP to stand in the back of the classroom if able to concentrate and not disturb others.

Last reviewed: November 29, 2023 by Helly

Next review due: May 29, 2024

Back to top