Individual Sensory Needs Matter
Service providers are building sensory spaces and rooms for people who access their service and who have sensory needs. In my opinion, that is all of us. Why do ‘sensory needs’ matter so much and what ‘providers’ need to make these spaces serve their purpose.
Here I will explain the benefits of a Sensory Needs Profile Assessment for everyday living
We will focus on:
Sensory Integration, Rationale, Daily Life
Sensory Integration is the act of the brain making sense of the sensory environment, and it’s happening all day long.
All Persons have high and low sensory thresholds for a particular incoming sense.
This is not determined by disability but people on the Autism Spectrum are more likely to experience more intense information / sensory input, which may require strategies to manage.
There are many more people who are simply susceptible to certain sensory integration input which affects their output.
This may present as over responsivity eg agitated at brush of hair or tickling OR can be lack of responsitivity eg must be tapped on shoulder to gain attention.
Sensory Processing was once only considered something for children eg more colours, more playdough, more rough play to enhance development.
Adolescents and adults also require attention – especially where they are unable to access or meet the thresholds of their sensory needs independently. Reasons for this may be limited mobility, a somewhat controlled environment, complex communication needs.
There is a tool known as a Sensory Profile which is used by therapists and certain educators to record individual responses to sensory events in daily life, combining a sensory processing framework perspective with daily life performance
I have completed my own Sensory Profile and the results showed high scores in ‘seeking sensations’. So to optimize my sensory integration some strategies were suggested:
- Audio – Incorporate more sounds into my daily routine eg hum/sing/play radio..
- Touch – Go barefoot
- Visual – Select bright colours
Whereas, YOURS will be completely different.
So will the next person and this is why knowing individual sensory preferences and thresholds is needed in order to successfully use integration methods in daily life.
So Sensory Rooms are not a ‘one size fits all’. They have a place but do consider that too much or too little of a certain sensory input can make a huge difference or delay to processing of information.