Sensory Processing Preferences
We have five senses for the world around us. These are: sight, hearing, taste, touch, and smell. We have three additional senses for the inside of our body: movement, spatial awareness, and interoception (https://www.dotschildot.com.au/post/what-is-interoception).
Sensory Processing Disorder, also known as Sensory Modulating Disorder, refers to an individual having challenges with collecting and understanding their information from the world around them. While not an official diagnosis in the ICD-11 or the DSM 5 (International Classification of Diseases, 11th Revision; The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition), challenges with sensory processing is recognised as a component for other diagnosis.
As we know that every child is different, a child might have varying sensitivities towards a particular stimulus, and may consequently seek or avoid it.
An example of this may be a child constantly needing to move as they feel that they cannot get enough movement. Alternatively, they may withdraw in a noisy environment such as that of a classroom.
It should be noted that this is not a diagnosis that is currently recognised in Australia, but at the same time, should it?
Everyone, young or old, neurotypical or neurodivergent, have their preferences. Is it necessary for you to be labelled different if you need a pair of ear defenders to help you focus in a noisy coffee shop? Or spinning a pen during a meeting?
Explore and embrace what works for you so that you can continue participating in meaningful occupation, doing the things that you need to do, want to do, and are expected to do.
Please talk to your Occupational Therapist if you require further support with your child for their sensory processing preferences.