I learned in school when I was younger that there are five senses. When I realized my son was a sensory seeker, these five senses were what I had in mind when I realized I needed to give him more sensory input in his day. After more research, I realized there were actually eight sensory inputs our bodies have!
There are professionals all over our world going to school and working in this field of study that know this information, and then mere uneducated individuals like me that are just now realizing that there’s more to our bodies than the five senses I learned in kindergarten! Wild!
So just in case there are more of you out there like me that are new to this 8 senses game, I’m going to break down what each of the senses is in terms I understand, and hopefully you can too.
And then the three we don’t know as much about.
Proprioceptive: This one is the “hard work” one in my mind. This sensory function utilizes muscles and ligaments in our bodies to move us through space. It also tells us where we are in space and in relation to other objects. Sensory seekers for this area are going to be pulling and pushing objects, carrying heavy things, or running, doing all of these things with as much force as possible. Sensory avoiders will be using their limbs and muscles the least amount possible. Things like lifting or pushing can feel very overwhelming to them.
Vestibular: When I think of vestibular, I try to remember the “inner ear” because that’s the key point to vestibular sensory input. It’s spinning, swinging, and hanging upside down. Those that avoid vestibular input want their world to stay put. Anything that makes them dizzy or feels out of control is a no-go for this sensory input. Those that seek vestibular input are doing everything they can to throw their inner ear off balance- spinning, swinging, rolling, hanging upside down.
Interoceptive: This is the feelings and senses that we have within ourselves. It’s within our brain letting us know how our body is doing and what we are feeling. And not just emotionally, but physically as well. This can be a headache from dehydration, it can be pain in your arm when it’s burned, or even just the feelings of a sad, broken heart. This sense can be incredibly strong for some and dull for others, meaning we all feel pain and emotion at different levels.
I hope this mostly simplified version of the three new senses helps you understand them a little more.
Do you have a sensory seeker or avoider in your home or your classroom?
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