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Exploring Your Sixth Sense (and more)

Did you know that most neurodivergent individuals experience sensory differences? These differences affect more than just our five primary senses we learned in grade school: taste, sight, touch, sound, and smell. They also affect our proprioception, vestibular processing, interoception, and pain perception, too!


 

Proprioception

Sometimes referred to as the sixth sense, or kinesthesia, proprioception is the perception or awareness of the position and movement of the body. Proprioception is highly involved in coordinated movement of your body, successful execution of everyday actions, and maintenance of muscle tone and balance. Differences in proprioception may look like: running into furniture, tripping on uneven surfaces, uncoordinated dancing, or breaking crayons when coloring.


Vestibular Processing

The vestibular system is responsible for providing our brain with information about motion, head position, and spatial orientation. This system is locating in our inner ear and is the first sensory system to full develop in utero. This system is known to direct our other sensory systems and plays a major role in our interaction with our environments. Differences may look like becoming dizzy, motion sick, or feeling unbalanced more easily than others. It can also look like low mobility and low energy levels.


Interoception

Interoception is the perception of the internal state of your body. This sense allows one to feel hungry or full, thirsty or quenched, hot or cold, physically relaxed or anxious, and comfortable or needing to use the bathroom. Neurodivergent individuals may have a greater difficulty processing, communicating, and responding to internal body cues which can lead to dehydration, constipation, urinary retention, and poor emotion regulation.


 

Want to learn more about your nervous system? Want to identify tools for meeting your sensory needs and living a healthier, more comfortable life? You know where to go :)


-Rachel Robertson, OTR/L

Certified Brain Injury Specialist

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