Everybody's sensory systems develop at different rates, and some people are more sensitive to certain sensory information than others

Sensory Development

The following KIDS video explores the 7 sensory systems, or pathways through which information is input to the brain:

  • Sense of Vision
  • Sense of Hearing
  • Sense of Touch
  • Sense of Smell and Taste
  • Sense of Body Awareness
  • Sense of Movement and Balance

The 7 systems do not work in isolation; each overlaps and hopefully integrates with the others, although each has a specific role in providing a person with their 'sense of self'.



Sensory Questionnaires

Everybody's sensory systems develop at different rates, and some people are more sensitive to certain sensory information than others.  This is perfectly normal and we only become concerned about how a person processes sensory information when it starts to interfere with their ability to take part in everyday activities.  We have devised some questionnaires that will provide you with individualised advice and guidance about how to help support your child to cope with everyday sensory experiences. 

Information on each sensory system is available for 3 different age ranges;

  • 2-5 years
  • 5-12 years
  • 12-18 years

We use our vision to interpret information from all we see around us. Some children use their vision differently and can either be more sensitive to visual input (e.g. avoiding bright lights) or less sensitive (e.g. appearing not to see something right in front of them). If you suspect your child does not process visual information as well as they should please complete the following questionnaire and then try using the downloadable strategies to help them. If you have concerns about your child's ability to see things properly please take them to an optician for an eye test.

Listening to the world around us helps us make sense of where we are. Some children can be very sensitive to sound and can react badly to sudden loud noises. This is very common and is part of normal development, however some children can remain sensitive to sound much longer than others. Complete the following questionnaire and download the strategies provided if you feel your child displays some sensitivity to sound.

We experience touch all the time. Our clothes touch us, when we sit our bodies are in contact with the chair, when we stand our feet are touching either the inside of our socks and shoes or are in direct contact with the ground. We can never escape touch!! Some children can be very sensitive to touch; disliking certain textures or being very aware of the labels and seams inside clothing. Other children seem oblivious to touch and don't notice when their shoes are two sizes too small or don't feel pain like the rest of us. If you think your child feels touch differently why not complete the questionnaire and download the advice and ideas at the end?

Our senses of smell and taste are closely linked, as they follow the same neural pathway through the brain. Some people seem not to have a sense of smell, which can be useful in some circumstances (think teenagers bedrooms or school changing rooms!) Other people are so sensitive to certain tastes and smells that they can retch when they walk into a kitchen or classroom. Whilst this is not an issue for most people, it can be for others. It is almost impossible to change how people process smell or taste but you can try different strategies to help reduce the impact. Complete our questionnaire and then download the advice sheets.

Your sense of body awareness is also known as your PROPRIOCEPTIVE sense. It is proprioception that tells your body how your limbs are moving and how much force to use when lifting, squeezing or pushing things. If your sense of body awareness isn't well developed you can appear quite clumsy. If you feel your child is more clumsy than other children their age complete the following questionnaire and use the strategies provided to help them develop their sense of body awareness.

Your sense of movement and balance is known as your VESTIBULAR sense. The nerves that control your vestibular system are located in your inner ear and tell your brain what direction you are moving in, whether your head is up, down or turned to the side, and helps your body stay upright against gravity. Some children can be very sensitive to movement because for them a little bit of movement feels very big and scary. Other children don't register movement as well as others and so they tend to seek out movement all the time! If you think your child moves too much or too little complete this questionnaire and use the strategies to help them develop their sense of movement.

Sensory Workshops

The 'Participating in Everyday Activities Living with Sensory Differences' Workshops are available across the whole of Greater Glasgow and Clyde (GG&C) and are free of charge.

The aim of the workshop is to provide you with a basic overview of how the sensory systems work and how difficulties with processing sensory information can impact on a person’s life and may be impacting on your child’s behaviour in different environments. It is hoped that by the end of the workshop, you will have more understanding of why your child may be behaving in certain ways and you may even have a few ideas of strategies to try to support your child to be more able and confident in their everyday lives; to make sense of the world.

There will also be an opportunity to look at a variety of sensory equipment that you may have heard about. We can sometimes offer to loan this out for trial if we agree that this would meet your child’s needs.

The workshop consists of a simple presentation as well as interactive activities, lasting approximately 1½ hours. There will be other parents attending whose children are experiencing similar experiences to your own child. There is an opportunity for sharing your challenges and strategies you have tried if you chose to, although this is not required if you find this uncomfortable. You can ask for time with one of the therapists if you want to discuss your own experiences individually.

If you would like to book a place on a workshop, click on each highlighted date within the month that suits you until you find your local venue and click on Register Now!