What is Sensory Processing and Why is it so Important?

Sensory processing is the brain’s ability to take in information (sensory input) from the body and the environment, to make sense of the information, and to respond appropriately so that we can interact effectively and efficiently within our environment and with others.

Everyone is aware of the famous 5 senses: vision, hearing, taste, smell, and touch. What most people don’t realize is that we have 2 more extremely important sensory systems, the vestibular system and the proprioceptive system. These sensory systems provide imperative information regarding our bodies and allow us to not only move and interact in our environment but also help us to understand space and time.

Children who do not efficiently process sensory information may struggle to make sense of daily situations and social interactions, and have difficulty learning and engaging in basic age-appropriate activities. They may have difficulty paying attention or responding appropriately to situations at home, in school, or during play. Children who have difficulty with sensory processing are often mislabeled as lazy, trouble makers or disobedient and their self-esteem is often compromised.

OpTimize provides assessment, treatment, and consultation for children with sensory processing difficulties. Direct Occupational Therapy intervention is founded in the knowledge of neuroscience and human development and focuses on making neurological changes to the nervous system that allow the child to process and respond to sensory information more automatically and appropriately. Consultation services can help the family, school, and other care providers to better understand the child and assist in providing environmental adaptations, sensory diets, and/or education to those involved. A combination of both direct intervention and consultation services is ideal; allowing accommodations, adaptations, etc. to be implemented immediately through consultation, while addressing the underlying neurological impairments through direct intervention.