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Sensory processing

Supporting children and young people with sensory processing differences

Overview

Sensory processing is a term used to describe how the information we receive from our eight senses is noticed, sorted, and used by our brain.

For most children, the development of sensory processing occurs as part of normal development. When we experience different sensations, through play and activities, our bodies develop skills to accurately notice and use this sensory information.

We all have sensory processing differences and these change throughout our lives. Some of us like very strong tastes and others avoid them. Some people enjoy roller coaster rides whilst others would avoid even a merry-go-round. If we can manage to take part in the things we want and need to do, then these sensory processing differences don’t need support.

For some children, their sensory development is different. This can be for various reasons including a delay in their development or because of a neurodivergence such as Autism or ADHD. These differences may mean that they struggle to take part in everyday childhood occupations. Perhaps they are so distressed by noise that they can’t go to a friend’s party, or they hit out when someone brushes up against them as they experience it as painful.

Last reviewed: December 6, 2023 by Gemma

Next review due: June 6, 2024

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