20 July 2023
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Some children have difficulty processing and responding to information from their senses.

This includes sight, sound, taste, touch, smell, proprioception (body awareness) and vestibular (movement) input.

Signs of sensitivities:

  • Seeking sensations (touching, smelling or licking textures, closely watching moving objects, difficulty sitting still)
  • Over-reacting to sensations (becoming upset when touched, easily distracted by noise/light, picky with food textures and smells)
  • Under-responding to sensations (appearing to ‘tune out’, low response to sound/touch, poor pain perception)


Sensory seeking versus sensory sensitive

When to refer:

Refer to an occupational therapist when a child’s sensory sensitivities interfere with everyday routines or engagement in learning. Early referral is key in improving functional, social and academic outcomes.


Early intervention – where and how to refer

Further information about sensory sensitivities

This article was written by members of the ‘Stronger Seeds, Taller Trees’ project which includes professionals from a number of government and non-government organisations in South Western Sydney. The group aims to support GPs working with families to navigate and access timely services when they have a concern about a child’s development.