Sensory Disorder or Sensory Integration Disorder is a diagnosis that is starting to get more attention. You may know someone whose says that their child has a sensory disorder or sensory processing disorder, but what exactly does it mean?
Let’s start with defining the five different types of sensory input; these may sound familiar from your elementary school science class.
In addition to these well-known senses, there are many other ways our body receives input:
- Our vestibular sense is how our body processes movement coming through our inner ear.
- Our proprioceptive sense is our body’s ability to sense where we are in relationship to our surroundings.
- Interoception helps you understand and feel what’s going on inside your body, such as the ability to know when you are hungry or feel hot or cold.
These senses give our body the ability to process and interact with the world around us. Most individuals can determine which sensations are most important and can ignore those that are irrelevant.
For example, right now, you can focus on reading this article. But at the same time, you may be tuning out your children playing in the background, or your dog barking at the mailperson, because those things do not have a direct impact on your current activity.
However, for people with a sensory disorder, thebody does not process these sensations in a typical manner. They may be oversensitive to the sensation, known as hypersensitive, under-reactive to the sensation, known as hyposensitive, or may seek out different types of sensation, known as sensory seeking. The following shows just a couple examples of sensory disorders, but by no means is an exhaustive list.