People with Sensory Modulation difficulties experience their world as Hypersensitive (over reactive, sensory avoidance), Hyposensitive (under reactive, sensory seeker) and in some cases a mix of both.
They may also present with motor skill problems (Sensory Processing difficulties). They may react with strong emotional behaviours and experience what may be described as ‘melt downs’. In simpler terms, the brain and nervous system must act as a ‘Filter’ – Filtering in and filtering out sensory input from the environment to achieve the optimal level of arousal in order to attend to the task at hand or simply remain in a state of equilibrium.
The brain and nervous system receive input from body parts as well as from the outside world. The central nervous system is also a means of transmitting messages throughout the body and functions somewhat like a computer system. The messages that are transmitted, however, affect functions such as muscle movement, coordination, learning, memory, emotion, behaviour and thought. As with a computer, a breakdown or malfunction in one part of the system often affects other functions of the system.
Sensations from hearing, vision, taste, smell, touch, pressure, and movement provide the input to the brain which is organized for movement, cognition and learning. The richness of the sensory environment and the interactive experience of the individual with the environment contribute to optimal development of function.
When there is a Sensory Processing Disorder, it is hypothesized that the brain does not process or organise the flow of sensory impulses in a way that gives the child precise information about themselves and their world.