Unlocking the Power of Sensory Processing

Sensory Processing:

What is sensory processing?


Sensory processing refers to a child’s ability to interpret sensory information from the external and internal (within the individual) environment. It involves the way the brain is able to receive information and then organise and respond to the sensory input in order to maintain meaningful and appropriate behaviour.


Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)


SPD is a neurological condition whereby the person’s sensory signals are not received and organised properly to illicit appropriate responses. Children with SPD may struggle to process sensory input such as smell, touch, taste (often more or less intensely), which impacts their ability to interact with people and the environment around them. This can create challenges participating in ADL’s.


Potential elements of sensory integration dysfunction include:


  1. Sensory-based motor disorder: Impaired ability to plan, move or stabilise movements in response to sensory stimuli.
  2. Sensory Discrimination disorder: Impaired ability to discriminate and identify the differences between sensations.
  3. Sensory Modulation disorder: Impaired ability of the child to turn a stimulus or sensory message into an appropriate response of behaviour that aligns with the intensity and nature of the sensory information being received.


In addition, there are many other factors that can impact sensory processing. These may include:

  • Psychological problems such as GAD, Depression, PTSD
  • Speech/language impairments
  • Difficulties managing attention (ADD/ADHD)
  • Behavioural concerns
  • Fatigue
  • Environmental factors around the child
  • Time of day


Common signs of SPD (not an exhaustive list)


  • Difficulty concentrating or easily distracted
  • Poor sleep patterns
  • Picky eater, avoids/prefers certain textures or food with strong smells/tastes
  • Seeks movement, deep pressure (crashing, spinning, and jumping).
  • Displays reduced ability regulating emotions or behavioural responses
  • Low muscle tone
  • Easily upset with changes to routine
  • Poor motor skills, balance and coordination.
  • Displays difficulty playing with others
  • Avoids movement-based equipment (e.g., swings)
  • Poor working memory
  • Poor planning and sequencing
  • Poor play skills


Helpful Strategies to consider


  • Consider use of a sensory diet
  • Knowledge of the child’s interests/disinterests
  • Providing the child advanced notice for changes to routine
  • Use visual cues to assist learning a task or for task transition.


To learn more about Vista Healthcare’s services and take the first step towards achieving your goals contact us today. We know it can often be challenging waiting weeks to be seen by healthcare professionals, that’s why we have put in place a No-Waitlist scheme to ensure best client outcomes are possible.