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Making Sense of Sensory Processing: Everything that we know about the world around us and ourselves comes to us via our senses. It is our ability to take.

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Presentation on theme: "Making Sense of Sensory Processing: Everything that we know about the world around us and ourselves comes to us via our senses. It is our ability to take."— Presentation transcript:

1 Making Sense of Sensory Processing: Everything that we know about the world around us and ourselves comes to us via our senses. It is our ability to take in information from the senses, to put it together with prior information, memories and knowledge stored in the brain, and then make an adaptive response that is sensory integration or processing.

2 Sensory Processing: Sensory Integration (Processing) is the organization of sensation for use. (A Jean Ayers, 1979) Sensory Integration is the neurological process of organizing the information we get from our bodies and from the world around us for use in daily life.

3 Sensory Processing: Happens automatically in normal development. Nerve pathways must be used for connections to be made. Takes place from infancy through childhood – usually student is well integrated by 8-10 years). Occurs on an unconscious level.

4 Sensory Processing: We all have sensory preferences based on our genetics and experience.

5 Sensory Processing: Sensory input/information is received via the sensory nerves. Our brain interprets, organizes and relays this information to other brain areas and body parts. We respond, move and learn.

6 Far Senses: The five senses: These are the far senses (external). Sensation occurs outside the body for learning about the environment. Sight Hearing Smell Taste Touch - Light

7 Near Senses: These are the near senses (internal). Sensation occurs within the body for learning about our body. Deep Touch – gives the brain information on discrimination of touch, pressure and body awareness. Vestibular – gives the brain information regarding movement. Proprioception – gives the brain information regarding joint position sense.

8 Gustatory Input - Taste: The receptors for this system are located in the tongue. They are entwined with the olfactory system. Receptors in the mouth provide discriminatory information about what is in the mouth. These are the receptors that tell us when something is too hot, too sweet, or that a bone is inside the meat that you are chewing.

9 Olfactory Input - Smell: The chemical receptors for this system are located in the nasal structure. It is closely associated with the gustatory system. Provides information about different types of smell, whether a smell is pleasant, musty, acrid, flowery, pungent. This system goes directly through to the brain, not via the central nervous system.

10 Visual Input – Vision: Receptors are located in the retina of the eye and are stimulated by light. This input provides us with information about objects and persons. It helps us define boundaries as we move through time and space. Visual Processing is the ability to understand and interpret information that is seen.

11 Auditory Input – Hearing: The receptors for the auditory system are located in the inner ear and are stimulated by air/sound waves. This system provides us with information about sounds in the environment, whether they are near, far, soft, loud, high, low. Auditory Processing is the ability to interpret information that is heard.

12 Tactile Input (a) – Light Touch: The receptor for this system is the skin. Cell density varies throughout the body, with the greatest density in the mouth, hands and genitals. Tactile input provides information about the environment and object qualities such as sharp, dull, hot, cold, pain. Touch Processing is the ability to interpret the information coming into the body via the skin.

13 Tactile Input (b) – Deep Touch: Deep touch is discriminating touch. It discriminates between a hit and a touch, helps us to determine how much pressure to use, eg. when holding a tetra juice box or pressing with a pencil or what it is in our hands. This system gives information on discrimination of touch pressure – firm or light touch, and on body awareness – where we are in space, supporting the proprioceptive system.

14 Vestibular Input – Movement: This system is the first to develop. It begins in- utero, at about 10 weeks. It provides information related to movement, gravity, balance and head position. The receptors for this system are in the middle ear. Lets us know if we are moving or the world is and in what plane the movement is occurring, eg. linear or rotary.

15 Proprioceptive Input – Body Awareness: Proprioceptive input tells us of our body’s position via the joints. Provides information about where a certain body part is and how it is moving. The receptors for this system are in the joints, muscle ends, ligaments and tendons. This system is activated through stretching or compressing the joints. This input can be both calming and stimulating and cannot be given in excess.

16 Typical Nervous System: Has the ability to maintain an optimal level of arousal for the task at hand or knows what it needs to do to get there. Is adaptable and flexible, changing the state of arousal to suit the demands. Has good recovery back to optimal level if something unexpected happens.

17 Typical Nervous System: Arousal Level Behaviour Very High‘Shut Down’ HighErratic TypicalTypical Behaviour LowLethargic Very Low‘Shut Down’

18 Neurological Thresholds: Neurological thresholds are an important nervous system construct for understanding sensory processing. - A threshold is the point at which there is enough input to cause a nerve cell or a system to activate. Self Regulation, which is a behavioural construct, also needs to be understood when looking at sensory processing – it can be active or passive.

19 Categories of Sensory Processing: There are two broad categories: - Over-sensitive or Hyper-sensitive. - Under-sensitive or Hypo-sensitive.

20 Patterns of Sensory Processing: Neurological Thresholds Self-regulation strategies/ Behavioural responses Self-regulation strategies/ Behavioural responses PassiveActive High ThresholdLow Registration - which represents a high threshold and passive self-regulation strategy. Sensation Seeking - which represents high thresholds and an active self-regulation strategy Low ThresholdSensory Sensitivity - which includes low thresholds and a passive self-regulation strategy. Sensation Avoiding - which includes low thresholds and an active self-regulation strategy.

21 So What Can We Do??? Look at your own sensory preferences and what you do to make yourself be at the appropriate level of arousal for the task. Look at what you do to make yourself feel good or to feel calm. Look at the career path you have chosen and the sensory demands that this career has. Look at what tasks, activities or places you avoid and why you avoid them. Look at the different sensory systems and how you respond to each, requiring more or less input, and how this varies with each system.

22 Remember….. Our Clients are the same; - except their responses are less discrete, possibly even over the top. - they have little control over the tasks they are asked to do or the places they visit. - often they cannot tell you what is making them feel uncomfortable. - Often they cannot tell you why they are doing what they are doing, they only know that it works.

23 General Suggestions

24 Oral Calming - Food or other items that are sucked e.g. lollipops, chewy tubes - Warm foods or drinks - Sucking through a straw - Slow, deep breathing (in and out) Arousing - Crunchy foods that need to be bitten. - Chewy foods. - Spicy foods. - Cold foods and drinks e.g. icy poles. - Non-food items that are chewed, e.g. pen lids, fingernails. - Sour foods. - Salty foods.

25 Movement Calming - Rocking motion rhythmic and over time. - Pendulum motion rhythmic and over time. - Lifting heavy items. - Slow dancing. - Pushing a wheelbarrow uphill. - Stretching. - Riding a bike. - A walk at an easy pace. - Hanging up side down. Arousing - Being bounced. - Jumping, hopping. - Fast dancing. - Running. - Shaking movements. - Foot tapping. - Tapping a pencil or finder tapping. - Squirming in a chair. - Fast carnival rides. - Spinning movements. - Running downhill with an empty wheelbarrow. - Stretching. - Riding a bike. - Power walking

26 Touch Calming - Warm shower. - Patting a pet. - Stroking soft material such as velvet. - Thumb sucking. - Being wrapped in a blanket. - Snuggling into bed. - A cuddle. - Crawling into a very small place. - The feel of soft clothes. - Kneading dough or clay. Arousing - Cold bath. - Drumming fingers on the table. - Fidgeting with things such as a pencil, earring, necklace or hair. - Being tickled. - Being poked. - Feeling items of extreme temperatures, e.g.hot/cold. - Touching rouch surfaces. - Wearing clothes that are over- tight. - Being pushed, when unexpected or unwanted.

27 Visual Input Calming - Dim or muted lighting. - Watching a sunset. - Watching a lava lamp. - Watching an open fire. - Watching a fish tank. - Looking at scenic countryside. - Muted colors in a room. Arousing - Bright lights. - A cluttered room. - A cluttered desk. - Bright colors. - Rapidly changing pictures. - Opening the curtains to reveal sunshine. - Watching a fast paced game, e.g football. - A cluttered notice board. - Bright boarders.

28 Auditory Input Calming - Listening to relaxation tapes or soothing music. - Listening to the bubbles of a fish tank. - Listening to gentle rain on the roof. - A quite, calm voice. - Rhythmical sounds, e.g constant tempo drumming. Arousing - Loud music. - Car horns. - Ambulance or police sirens. - Thunder. - Hail on the roof. - Noisy rooms. - Loud voices. - Sounds where the beat or rhythm constantly changes. - Sudden, unexpected sounds.

29 Sensory Diet Looking at the students and making careful observations. - Are they over or under? - Are they passive or active in their behavioural response. - How can we support them and their sensory needs?

30 Questions?


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