Sensory processing challenges: What they are & how they impact us

HENDERSON, Tenn. — We are all different, and that includes how we react to things around us and inside of us.

“Sensory processing is the ability to take information, process that information, interpret it and then be able to do whatever we want to do in this world,” Mim Ochsenbein, director of education at the STAR Institute in Colorado, said.

Ochsenbein is also an occupational therapist at the institute. They work specifically with people with sensory processing challenges.

“If someone is having a sensory processing challenge, then the way their brain structure processes sensory information, it could have a negative impact on how they interact with this world,” Ochsenbein said.

Ochsenbein says the things that impact us, and then the way we process those things, are as unique as our fingerprints.

“The smell of cookies might be very comforting and grounding for one person, and send another person out of the room with a headache,” she said.

Elementary to college-age students, school counselors, parents and teachers all came out to hear Ochsenbein speak Tuesday morning. She says her main goal of the presentation is to simply start a conversation.

“How sensory processing, which is a body function, really does impact your overall health in your body as well as your socio-emotional health and development too,” Ochsenbein said.

Ochsenbein says she hopes the event gives people dealing with these challenges hope they can find a way to live the best life possible.

For more information on the STAR Institute and sensory processing challenges, head to the Seen on 7 section of our website.

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