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Sensory Processing

Did you know that our bodies rely on sensory input to regulate functions and respond to the environment?

Understanding the different types of sensory input and their purpose can be incredibly beneficial when working with individuals with sensory processing disorders.

Sensory Systems


Auditory Input

Sense of Sound-

how we hear and respond to 


Girl Smelling Flowers

Olfactory Input

Sense of Smell-

how we smell

and perceive



Kids Playing Tug of War

Proprioceptive Input

Sense of Body Awareness-

how we move our joints/


Eating Watermelon

Gustatory Input

Sense of Taste-

how we taste

and perceive/

recognize different


Balancing Beam

Vestibular Input

Sense of Balance-

how we coordinate movements & maintain balance


Visual Input

Sense of Sight-

how we perceive different colors, shapes, motion, visual stimuli

Kids Painting

Tactile Input

Sense of Touch-

how we feel & perceive different textures/temperatures

Cute Girl

Interoception Input

Sense of Feeling Inside the Body-

how we recognize

hunger, thirst, feeling full/cold/hot


1. Low registration
"high threshold and passive self-regulation"
"hypo-responsiveness to sensory input"

2. Seeker
"high threshold and active self-regulation"
"increased desire or need for sensory input"

3. Sensitivity
"low threshold and passive self-regulation"

4. Avoider
"low threshold and active self-regulation"

"interplay between people’s neurological thresholds and behavioral responses from self-regulation strategies"

Dunn, W., Little, L., Dean, E., Robertson, S., Evans, B. (2016). The state of the science on sensory factors and their impact on daily life for children: A scoping review. OTJR, 36:3s–26s. doi: 10.1177/1539449215617923.

Sensory Processing Disorders

"presence of difficulties in detecting, modulating, interpreting and/or organizing sensory stimuli, which are so severe that it interferes with daily life routines."

Miller, L. J., Nielsen, D. M., & Schoen, S. A. (2012). Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and sensory modulation disorder: A comparison of behavior and physiology. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 33(3), 804–818.

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Sensory Modulation

Difficulty regulating and organizing responses to sensory input

Sensory Discrimination

Difficulty determining the characteristics of sensory stimuli, resulting in a poor ability to detect specific qualities,  similarities, and differences of/among stimuli 

Sensory-Based Motor

Difficulty in balance, gross motor, fine motor coordination, postural control, and movement sequencing

Jorquera-Cabrera, S., Romero-Ayuso, D., Rodriguez-Gil, G., & Triviño-Juárez, J. M. (2017). Assessment of sensory processing characteristics in children between 3 and 11 years old: A systematic review. Frontiers in Pediatrics, 5, 57.

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