SENSE I CONNECT I CREATE I GROW
Behaviours associated with sensory processing difficulties can overlap with other issues. We will assess using discussion, questionnaires, observation and sensory play sessions as needed.
Once we know what the issues are around sensory processing we can address these. Sometimes this means adding in strategies to cope or working directly on areas that are difficult. An assessment with recommendations might be enough, or we might work with you for longer to develop skills and strategies.
Emotional regulation is about how we manage our feelings so that we can concentrate, listen and get on with others. Emotional regulation is really tricky if you’re struggling with sensory processing. Its also hard when you’re struggling with your mental health. We can help you or your child if you struggle in this area.
We can combine talking therapy with sensory processing work for trauma. You may have a diagnosis of PTSD or may not. If you have experienced trauma and find yourself struggling with sensory processing then this approach may be relevant for you.
Self care for mental health
As we all have sensory preferences, we can use these to develop our own self care for positive mental health. We can consider sensory preferences and using our senses for self care as part of our mental health services.
Sensory processing affects important developmental skills such as play, social communication and emotional recognition. We can help with these as part of treatment.
We use our senses in everything we do. We are constantly being confronted with sensory information and our brain has to filter this out so that we can understand and interact with the world. This process of collecting, filtering and interpreting sensory information is known as sensory processing.
Most of us can name the five senses – touch, smell, taste, hearing, sight. We now know of three more: vestibular – your sense of balance; proprioception – your sense of where you body parts are; and interoception – your sense of body sensations.
We all have sensory preferences. You might love spicy food and strong tastes. You might hate certain sounds or find other sounds soothing. You might be a tactile person or find touch uncomfortable. For some people, it goes beyond preferences and sensory processing is a problem. Often because the sensory information coming in is being filtered too much or not enough. Studies suggest that 5-16% of children have a sensory processing disorder (Ahn, Miller et. al., 2004; Ben-Sasoon, Carter et. al., 2009).
Sensory processing difficulties are very common in autism.
Researchers have suggested 69-93% of people with autism also have difficulties with sensory processing (Baranek et al., 2006; Billstedt et al., 2007; Klintwall et al., 2011; Leekam et al., 2007)
Sensory processing difficulties are common with ADHD.
One study found that 40% of children with ADHD also had sensory processing difficulties (Ahn, Miller et. al., 2004).
Usually sensory processing difficulties are seen in children. Signs that you or your child might have a difficulty with sensory processing include:
Difficulties with sensory processing can impact on all parts of everyday life for children. Here are some examples of areas that might be affected:
Sensory processing and trauma
There is a growing recognition of the significance our bodies have in the experience of trauma. When we experience trauma our body can go into a heightened state of arousal. We can be ‘on the lookout’ for danger even when the danger has passed. This high arousal state has an impact on our sensory processing. Sounds can appear louder, colours brighter. This can make it difficult to concentrate and can feel exhausting and scary.