Part of
Sensory Processing Handbook

The eight senses - guidance for practitioners in Somerset

Taste is triggered by the chemical content of substances in the environment.  The chemical particles are picked up by receptor sites on the tongue.  There are four tastes perceived: sweet, sour, bitter and salty.

Children have more taste buds than adults so they usually have a more highly developed sense of taste.  A child may have difficulties perceiving taste of be oversensitive to strong tastes, which can lead to issues at mealtimes.

Touch and pressure receptors in the mouth perceive information about texture and sensation of food.  Taste also works very closely with smell.  It is rare to taste something without smell, as our smell sensation elaborates on the information received about food.

Hypersensitive

(over-sensitive)

View table at full width
Potential signsPotential impactStrategies to assist with learning
Fussy, picky eatersReduced variety of foods eatenInvolve children in food activities but remove pressure to try/taste products
A dislike of strong oral stimulation such as brushing teethWeight lossAgree with the child which new foods they will try each week. Start with asking them to smell the foods and then move on at their pace to lick, taste and eat the food
Dislike strong tasteAvoidance of activities, such as going to the dentist or participating in group work where food and taste are involvedRemove pressures in lunch hall to eat what’s put in front of them
Dislike certain food texture, such as soft or hard foodsAs with the vestibular sense, significant difficulties in this area require graded and specialised programmes by trained professionals

Hyposensitive

(less-reactive)

View table at full width
Potential signsPotential impactStrategies to assist with learning
Mouthing and licking of non-food items such as pencils and sleeves (this can also be indicative of proprioceptive seeking or poor tactile discrimination)Dangers involved from chewing non-food itemsChewy tubes, bangles and pencil toppers
Chewing everything (this can also be indicative of proprioceptive seeking or poor tactile discrimination)Crunchy snacks
Food cramming
Preference for strong tastes such as chilli and lemons

Last reviewed:January 13, 2023 byGemma

Next review due:July 13, 2023

SEND logos - colour
Back to top

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