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Commonly used Sensory terms

Sensory Processing - This is a neurological process, where the brain receives and interprets sensory information. We receive sensory information from the environment through our senses (smell, sight, hearing, taste, touch, proprioception, vestibular). It is a process that is happening all of the time, in all of us.

Sensory Integration - This is the process by which our bodies make sense of the information and enables us to respond appropriately and carry out activities of daily living i.e. dressing, bathing, using cutlery.

Sensory preferences - We all have sensory preferences. This may change as we grow older/develop i.e. dislike of hand-dryers, dislike of round abouts, dislike of certain textures, favour sour flavours, enjoy rollercoasters. Sensory preferences  are a part of typical development and should not be considered a difficulty if they do not impact negatively on a person’s function.

Sensory Processing/Sensory Integration difficulties - Difficulties can occur when certain sensory information is not processed effectively and may result in an ‘inappropriate’  behavioural response. This may mean that they over-respond or under-respond to sensory input.  

Tactile - This is our sense of touch. Receptors in our skin and inside our mouths detect touch/pressure, temperature and pain.

Olfactory - This is our sense of smell. It is important for detecting hazards and plays a role in establishing memories.

Gustatory - This is our sense of taste. It is closely linked with our sense of smell.

Visual - This is our ability to see. Our vision is important for learning new skills and in communicating with others.

Auditory - This is our ability to hear.

Proprioception - This is our ability to know where our body/limbs are in space via feedback from our muscles, joints and ligaments. It gives us our body map and body awareness and allows us to move and do all our daily activities.

Vestibular - This involves senses in our inner ear that tell us the direction and speed our head is moving. It helps us balance and keeping our eyes steady whilst moving.

Sensory Integration Therapy - This is a detailed assessment and specifically designed treatment sessions that can only be undertaken by therapists with master’s level post graduate training and mentored practice. Please notes this is not something that is available on the NHS/via our service.