Part of
Sensory Processing Handbook

The eight senses - guidance for practitioners in Somerset

Interoception is the sense of knowing what is going on inside our bodies.  It includes things such as feeling hunger, thirst, temperature, pain, needing the toilet and noticing how our emotions feel.

Hypersensitive

(over sensitive)

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Potential signsPotential impactStrategies to assist with learning
The sensation of hunger, thirst or bathroom needs can cause them to be extremely anxious. The slightest change in temperature or even hearing their own heartbeat can be extremely distracting.They may have trouble maintaining focus on a task because they are distracted by what is going on in their bodyActivities which give our body proprioceptive sensation or activities which help us to connect our physical feelings within our bodies to our emotions can be particularly helpful to start to improve interoception awareness

Hyposensitive

(less-reactive)

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Potential signsPotential impactStrategies to assist with learning
The child often needs a large amount of input to recognise the type of sensory information their brain is recieving. This means they may not realise the need to use the bathroom, or that they are hungry until they are completely starving. They may not realise they are in pain, or the sensation of pain feels completely different to them, like a tickle.Children who are hyposensitive to interoception may not feed when they need to go to the bathroom, resulting in accidents. They may never feel full after a meal, or they may never feel hungry. They may not respond to pain in the same way as would be expected.Mindfulness and mediation encourage children to be more aware of what is going on inside their bodies.
Yoga focuses on listening to your body and providing good vestibular and proprioceptive input, it is helpful for developing interoception.
Breathing techniques and exercises are helpful for calming, as well as paying attention to what is going on inside our bodies.
Alerting activities are a great way to talk about heart rate and breathing rate. How do you feel after exercising? Is your heart racing? How do your muscles feel? Are you breathing hard and fast or slow and steady?
Cues or visual prompts that encourage children to identify body functions and feelings including using Social Stories can be useful.

Last reviewed:January 13, 2023 byGemma

Next review due:July 13, 2023

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Part of
Sensory Processing Handbook

The eight senses - guidance for practitioners in Somerset

1

Introduction

information on the nature of sensory processing differences and the impact they can have on children and young people's lives

Somerset SEND CharterIntroduction to the guidanceWhat is sensory processing?Sensory processing differences or difficultiesInteroception – the eighth senseChecklists and assessments
2

The sensory system

safe interventions for both children and young people, and groups

TactileProprioceptiveInteroceptiveVestibularVisualAuditoryOlfactoryTaste
3

School approaches

recommendations for creating appropriate learning environments for pupils with sensory processing differences

Whole school approachClassroom strategiesWhat to do if you are concerned a pupil is experiencing sensory processing difficultiesReferring to occupational therapy