Did you ever think that understanding your child’s behavior and responses to sensory information may be telling you so much more about your child than you can imagine? Could those so called “behaviors” be communicating something to you about who they are and how they perceive the world? Understanding sensory processing can be instrumental in developing awareness and understanding for your child. It can be a basis of communication, a spring board to developing verbal skills and communicating emotion. It can help you determine strategies that enhance interest and skill development. It can help you determine how you respond to the behaviors you see.

Sensory processing is the process by which we all develop our perceptions about ourselves, our experiences and the world we live in. Each of us take in information from our world by seeing, smelling, tasting, touching and hearing. There are a variety of other types of sensation that also contribute to who we are in the world we grow and learn in. We have a senses of movement and balance as well. How we experience the vibrational information from our sensory system and interpret this information will impact how we perceive experiences. We in turn respond to the world based on how we perceive the sensory information that we have processed. Emotions are generated with sensory experience.

Think about it. Are you a thrill seeker or are you very cautious? Are you a hugger or do your prefer folks just keep their distance? Do you have a large expanded diet of food you will try, or are you content with just a few food preferences?

Are you able to recognize where you are in response to the questions? When you do, you are beginning to see some of the preferences that you have developed over time. These preferences help shape who you are, your choices and even some of your personality. You have made these choices in response to how you sense and perceive your world.

How does your response to your sensory systems shape who you are today. When you were young, did you love to ride a roller coaster? Do you ever wonder why you may no longer like to do that? If you learn about your sensory systems, how you respond to them and how those responses affect your behavior, you are beginning to tap into your Secret Sensory Genius. By becoming a Sensory Genius you will inspire your child to love learning and enjoy life experiences. You can create a parenting style that is tuned into your child’s developing needs.

Have you ever heard of the “Fight or Flight” reaction to a situation? Have you ever experience that? In recalling the experience, can you recall that at the core of that response was an initial sensory experience that culminated into an overwhelming full body visceral response? There is a place in time that most of us can remember when we knew someone who seemed awkward, rebellious, resistant, fearful, or avoidant.

Can you recall a time when you began doing something that felt so good and fun that you wanted to be able to do it forever? In that experience, what sensations do you recall? When it felt good did you engage fully, seeking more input from the experience? How did you feel?

The contrast of both experiences described is intended to give a clear picture about how sensory processing can produce an experience at either end of the spectrum. How the sensation of the experience is processed will determine if the experience is pleasant or not and what your resulting behavior might be.

While thinking about this approach, keep in mind that we are always changing. We adapt, integrate and modify our experience and how we respond to things in our environment and our body. Remember to maintain this awareness as you are walking through experiences and thoughts because your sensory experiences are the visceral response that allows you to become more in touch with your feelings and who you are. Does it feel good? What does it make you feel? How can you do this and feel better? How can you change how you think about it? How you approach it.

Trust yourself, be inspired. Tap into the messages. Use your genius.

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Author's Bio: 

Donna Beard-Guadagni is the founder of the Secret Genius Project

Cynthia Duffy is an Occupational Therapist and Expert in Autism and Sensory Processing