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About this post: Our occupational therapist at the practice, Colleen Kerrisk, explains why learning more about the way you receive or process sensory input can help you understand yourself better. 


Do you become bothered with lots of movement around you? Or maybe you are uncomfortable wearing certain fabrics?

Maybe your food tastes bland? Or you listen to your music turned all the way up? These might be personal preferences, or they could be a pattern of sensory issues that include difficulty receiving and/or processing vestibular, tactile, taste, visual, or auditory sensory input. 

As an occupational therapist, when I am working with someone who has sensory difficulties, first we collaboratively identify your neurological threshold – in other words, how much sensory input is necessary for you to notice it? Next, we review your response to such sensory stimuli, assessing if you shy away from or seek more of the sensory input. And finally, we address the interaction between the neurological threshold and response strategy. We complete this process using the Sensory Profile, a standardized assessment to help evaluate individuals’ sensory processing patterns. This sensorimotor approach and assessment was developed by occupational therapist, Winne Dunn, PhD OTR/FAOTA. 

With the information gathered from the Sensory Profile, as well as the occupational profile, you can better learn your own unique sensory preferences, which can in turn help you understand your behaviors. With this information, we brainstorm and create a plan to implement coping strategies, which include task and environmental modifications. Implementing such sensory-based strategies can help you better engage in the activities that you want and need to do throughout the day in order to live a balanced, well life! 

Written by Colleen Kerrisk, OTR/L, occupational therapist at graymatters