Sensory Processing Disorder Parent Support
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8 Senses (not 5) & Sensory Systems

Children with sensory differences ... painting the world beautiful.  

8 Senses (not 5) & Sensory Systems

Jeanette Loftus 

8 Senses (not 5) & Sensory Systems Sensory processing Disorder
Usually when most people think about the human senses, they can name five. Most would say sight, sound, taste, smell and touch but there are three other human senses that are very important too. We have eight senses.

Visual - What you see. Our sense of sight allows us to perceive light, color, depth and distance too. Vision is vital for tasks such as reading, writing and recognizing faces.

Auditory - What you hear. Our sense of hearing enables us to perceive sound and different frequencies and volumes. We use this sense to communicate, listen to music and hear sounds and noises around us. 

Gustation - What you taste. Our sense of taste allows us to to know the differences between different flavors such as sweet, sour, bitter or salty. Taste plays an important role with how we enjoy the taste of food. 

Olfactory - What you smell. Our sense of smell is linked to our sense of taste and it allows us differentiate between different scents that we smell everyday. 

Tactile - What you feel (touch). Our sense of touch is also known as tactile sensations, this sense helps us to perceive texture, temperature and pressure. Touch is important for everyday  tasks such as grasping objects. touching things around us and feeling how objects feel. 

Vestibular - Where you are in space, this input comes from movement and head position. Your vestibular system lets you know if you are upright or hanging upside down. Our vestibular sense is responsible for our balance and spatial orientation. It helps us maintain our posture, navigate through space, and coordinate our movements.

Proprioceptive - Body awareness. This is the ability to know where you are without using your sight. If you close your eyes and touch your nose successfully that’s because of your proprioceptive system. Our proprioceptive sense is the awareness of the position and movement of our body. It allows us to know where our limbs are without having to look at them and is crucial for tasks such as driving, typing, and playing sports.

Interoceptive - How you ‘feel’. This is input that lets you know you are hungry, thirsty, need to use the restroom, that your heart is beating fast, that you are hot or cold, etc. Our interoceptive sense is the awareness of our internal bodily signals such as hunger, thirst, heart rate, the feeling to use the bathroom and our emotions.

Sensory processing disorder (SPD) is a condition that affects how we process sensory information. SPD can affect any of the eight senses and can cause over-sensitivity (hypersensitivity) or under-sensitivity (hyposensitivity) to sensory input.

Hypersensitive means that you are more sensitive (over-responsive) to input than others. This may look like covering your ears when a vacuum is turned on because it is too loud. Or struggling with the feeling of your clothing, even to the point of not being able to wear clothes. 

At times we refer to people that are hypersensitive as avoiders, they want to avoid certain types of input because they are more sensitive to them.

Hyposensitive means that you are less sensitive (under-responsive) to input than others. Meaning you may want and crave more input to feel regulated and fulfilled. This may look like constantly moving, spinning, jumping, or playing rough with others. 

At times we refer to people that are hyposensitive as seekers. 

While most people are familiar with our  five basic senses, it's important to understand that there are eight senses and each sense plays an important role in our daily lives.

This sensory symptoms checklist is divided into different categories of senses, such as tactile (touch), auditory (sound), visual (sight), olfactory (smell), gustatory (taste), and vestibular (movement). 

There are also categories by age too. This can help identify specific areas where a child may be experiencing sensory difficulties.  
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DISCLAIMER: I am not an Occupational Therapist. I am an adult who has Sensory Processing Disorder, a sensory parent and a Grandma. The information on this website is not medical advice and does not replace the information that your child's therapists gives you. These are just ideas and information that I have learned myself over the years of being a parent and an adult living with SPD. If you are concerned for your child, please always seek medical attention through a family doctor, pediatrician or therapist. This website is for suggestions and informational purposes only. Each child is different and what works for one child may not for another because all children have different needs. Please always consult with a professional. Amazon offers a small commission on products sold through their affiliate links on my website.  Each of your purchases through links on my website for Amazon affiliation links or sponsored links support me but no additional cost to you so thank you. I appreciate it so much!