Sensory Processing refers to how your brain is constantly taking in and generating responses to information that comes from your internal environment (within the body, e.g., the sensations that tell you about pain, temperature, hunger) and from your external environment (the outside world, through your sense of sight, smell, hearing, touch, and taste). How this information is interpreted by the brain affects your responses and reactions. For example, hearing a favourite song might generate feelings of happiness and the action of singing or getting up and dancing. Recognising sensations of thirst might remind you that you’ve not had anything to drink for a few hours and prompt you to get yourself a drink.
So, there is a direct link between how your brain makes sense of sensory information and how you respond in terms of your emotions, thoughts, and actions.
This is relevant to trauma and neurodiversity as both can include sensory processing differences. For example, if you don’t pick up those sensations of thirst then you might go all day without drinking and then wonder why you feel tired, have a headache, and find it difficult to concentrate at work. If you are affected by trauma, your brain can respond to any reminders of the trauma by activating the body’s threat response. These reminders might be non-threatening things happening in everyday life or even internal body sensations e.g. cold, heat, muscle tension.
Ayres Sensory Integration® is a therapeutic approach developed by Jean Ayres which is based on theories about the link between how the brain and nervous system process incoming information and the impact this has on the development of a person’s motor (movement) skills, emotions, cognitive (thinking) skills and self-confidence and self-esteem.
I currently offer sensory assessments and sensory based approaches to support emotion regulation and participation in everyday activities. Once I complete my Postgraduate training, I will be able to offer more in depth sensory integration intervention.