Tag Archives: auditory (hearing)

The Sensory Seeker

We make sense of the World around us through our senses. We process so much information – about the sounds, smells, textures, our position, what we can hear, how much we are moving, and so on, and then the brain filters out which bits of information we need right now. They then tell us how to respond appropriately. For example, if we take a sip of coffee that is too hot, the senses will tell us not to drink it, to move the cup away from us – what position our body is in, in order to do this. We develop preferences for things, as some sensory input works better for some rather than others. For example, some people may work better listening to music, and others prefer the quiet.

Sometimes this can be harder than others, and can depend on your mood. For example, you may find it harder to ignore that annoying sound when you are trying to concentrate on something difficult, and when you are particularly tired.

Those with Sensory Processing Disorder have difficulty with the brain filtering out the bits it does not need. The first thing to do when you suspect Sensory Processing Disorder is to keep a diary. Consider things to do with the senses – vision (sight), tactile (touch), auditory (hearing), gustatory (taste), Vestibular (movement & gravity), olfactory (smell) and proprioception (sense of body position, from information received through the muscles, and joints – force, speed and control).

Keep track of when things are good, and when things are not so good. Consider whether the sense may be experiencing too much of something or not enough. What things help to diffuse the situation and what things help in maintaining a happy balance? Make sure you think about the times of day – does it always happen in the mornings? Does it only happen after they’ve been energetic?

Sensory Processing Disorder can affect many aspects of life including hygiene, sleeping, diet, relationships, self-esteem, danger, health, and education. Sensory Processing Disorder never goes away but it can be managed by a good Sensory diet. The earlier it is detected the better. There are many different Sensory Aids available to help.

Seekers often do not sense the movement/noise/touch etc and therefore need to make it themselves, (this is because the brain tells them that there is not enough input from these senses). They may have trouble sitting still and being quiet, always fidgeting and making noises. They may lick or touch things – even if this is a health and safety hazard.

Ways to help the Sensory Seeker:

  • Foods with flavour
  • Fizzy Drinks
  • Chewy Toys
  • Straws
  • Bubbles
  • Opportunities to move- the park, trampolines, etc
  • Fidget toys
  • Playdoh
  • Weighted blanket
  • Compression vest
  • Deep Bath
  • Space hopper
  • Various colours
  • Fluorescent lighting
  • Cluttered room
  • Artificial lights
  • Changing colour lights
  • Noisy toys
  • Mirrors
  • Fragrant toiletries
  • Electric toothbrush
  • Resistance tunnel or body sock
  • Offer different smells
  • Chewy and crunchy foods
  • Hats or hooded sweater
  • Encourage jumping
  • Lots of teddies in bed
  • Bear hugs
  • Messy play
  • Compression gloves
  • Vibrating pillow
  • Heavy work
  • Different textures to play with
  • MP3 player