Home Articles Asperger's Syndrome A Model of Sensory Processing


We all have our own unique ways of responding to sensory input (sounds, sights, tastes, odors, feels, our sense of balance and of our bodies).

To understand how we process sensory input, it is useful to realize we all respond somewhere on a continuum - ranging from a low response to a high response.

Neurologically, we have our own unique thresholds. These thresholds can change depending on the situation. For instance, when tired, our threshold for tolerating a certain sound may be lower. That is, when rested, a sound may be slightly annoying. When tired, the same sound may disturb us to the point of anger.

Our threshold may also be different for the various types of sensory input. We may react with a low threshold for odors, for example, while having a high threshold for balance. A child with this profile might enjoy roller coasters but gag in the presence of certain smells.

Imagine the following continuum:

LOW --------------------------------------------------------------------------HIGH
Hypersensitive, Overreactive Hyposensitive, Underreactive

This person may experience: This person may experience:

Distress with sound Lack of attention to sound
Sensitivity to light Decreased awareness of
of pain or injury
Discomfort with certain textures Disregard of persons or
things in the environment
Smell & taste aversions Delayed reactions and
Insecurity with heights and movement
Increased startle response

May avoid sensation to compensate May seek sensation to compensate

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