The body can respond to sensory input in one of three ways: 

  • Under-Responsive or Hyposensitive

  • Over-Responsive or Hypersensitive

  • Sensory Seeking.  

Under-Responsive or Hyposensitive is when an individual's sensory system is under-responsive to sensory input. This means that a person may not notice and respond to certain stimuli that a typical sensory system would. Therefore a greater intensity of stimulation is required in order for the person to have a typical response. For instance, a child who doesn’t notice food on their face or is constantly touching or bumping into things or people.

  • Unaware of pain caused by bumps or bruises (Ex. may not noticed a skinned knee)

  • Passive, lethargic or slow behaviour

  • Toileting accidents (Ex. difficulty sensing a full bladder or bowel)

  • Messy eater

Over-Responsive or Hypersensitive is when an individual is highly sensitive to stimulus in their environment. An over-responsive individual may have a much bigger response to a stimulus that would be seen as tolerable or minute to an individual with a typical sensory profile. For instance, a child with an over-responsive sensory system might cry in discomfort over a tag or misaligned seam in their clothing. or an individual that gags at the smell or taste of food.

  • Sensitivity to loud noises or lights

  • Bothered by certain textures, fabrics, or substances (ex. Hates messy hands)

  • Picky eater, difficulty introducing new foods

  • Overly cautious or hesitant

Sensory Seeking describe individuals who are constantly in search of ways to arouse their starved nervous systems. This drives an individual to actively gain access to certain types of sensory input. Individuals with these sensory systems need a lot more input than typical individual in order to feel satisfied or “regulated.”

  • Excessive movement

  • Non- stop talking or jabbering

  • Chewing or mouthing

  • Prefer strong foods and textures

  • Hard to calm

*Please note, the issues listed above are only possible indications of a Sensory Processing issue and should not be considered as diagnostic criteria.