In case you missed the first part of this series, be sure to read up on What is Sensory Processing?
What is Interoceptive Sensory Processing?
Interoception is the sense of monitoring your internal bodily functions. The process of interoception scans your body parts, like your heart, lungs, stomach, bladder, muscles, skin, and even eyeballs, and collects information about how each of these body parts feel. Your brain then uses this information as clues to your current emotions. For example, if your stomach growls your brain will tell you that you are hungry. Another element of interoception is emotional awareness. Often our emotions trigger physical bodily responses, like increased heart rate when we are nervous or scared.
Interoceptive Discrimination Disorder
When a child has difficulty with the interoceptive system they may exhibit signs like low body-awareness and emotional awareness. This could look like, not knowing when they are hungry, not properly perceiving pain, challenges with sleeping, difficulty with potty training or not recognizing the need to use the restroom. Limited interoceptive sensory processing often affects a person’s ability to self-regulate. For instance, when a typical person recognizes when they are too hot, they might change their clothes or drink some water. However, kids with interoceptive processing difficulties have a harder time identifying temperature extremes and may be more likely to overheat. Interoceptive processing difficulties also affect a child’s own emotional intelligence. They may have a harder time recognizing when they are nervous or angry, and might also have a harder time self-regulating those emotions.
Strategies for IDD
- Breathing exercises
- Social Stories
- Emotion activities that focus on how emotions feel
- Calming vs. alerting activities
This concludes our sensory processing blog series. If you enjoyed learning more about our sensory processing system, be sure to share the series with a friend.
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To learn more about Sensory Processing, watch the recorded MeBe Learning Webinar, All About Sensory Processing.