What is sensory processing?

The term sensory processing refers to the neurological process of taking in sensory information through the body and organizing this information to be able to respond in a functional way to the demands of the environment, home, school, and community settings. For example, a child reaches to catch a ball that is tossed to him or brushes away a bug that she feels land on her arm. This is called an adaptive response. It is an unconscious process that occurs every day. A child’s sensory processing abilities are evaluated by standardized evaluations, clinical observations, and a parental and/or teacher report. Red flags in a child’s development may include: inflexibility to changes in routines; constant movement which interferes with daily routines; sensitivity to various textures, clothing, finger paint; clumsy – frequent falls; lack of exploration in the environment during play; or low endurance/fatigue during activities.