Those involved in teaching and caring for children and adults with exceptionalities are familiar with sensory processing challenges. Heightened or even diminished sensitivity to stimuli reaching the five senses of hearing, sight, touch, smell and taste cause either avoidance or seeking of certain sensations. Often, occupational therapy (OT) is recommended for sensory integration – a common route to help individuals cope with their sensitivities.
Some examples of sensory processing issues include:
- Excessive preference for particular textures of clothing or food.
- Experiencing a panic attack when the school bell rings.
- Or in contrast, having no response upon hearing a fire alarm.
- Covering eyes when faced by bright lights.
- Anger at getting a waft of a certain scent.
- Hitting, screaming, throwing tantrums or isolating oneself in reaction to an unpleasant feeling.