Sensory Health

Sensory Health

Happy New Year! I wonder if you made a New Year’s resolution for 2024, and if so, what was it?

According to a Forbes research study, 45% of respondents noted an improvement in mental health as one of their top New Year’s resolutions, compared to 39% who said improved fitness, 37% who want to lose weight and 33% who cited improved diet.

Most New Year’s resolutions appear to be made around mental and physical health. But I wonder how many of the New Year’s resolutions made in 2024 were associated to people’s sensory health – my guess is not many.

When we think of health, many people might think of physical health or emotional health or mental health or even spiritual health, but the term sensory health is not often thought about or talked about. If we look back 20 years, mental health wasn’t really talked about or recognised, but now mental health is very much at the forefront when people think about health.

So, I just wanted to really raise this question at the beginning of 2024.

What is sensory health?

Have you ever thought about your sensory health or the sensory health within your organisation or for the individuals that you work with. It is interesting to note that sensory health is starting to be talked about not just within the sensory integration world. I have recently read a book about rest and within that book the author discussing seven types of rest; physical rest, mental rest, emotional rest, spiritual rest, social rest, sensory rest, and creative rest. There is also research that is now being done within organisations looking at sensory health within the workplace. Here are just two examples : ‘Remove invisible burdens that are holding your employees back’ and ‘Sensory processing and occupational performance at work’.

So, what do we mean by sensory health?

Here is a definition from a course I recently attended from the Star Institute – “Sensory health is the extent to which there is a fit between personal sensory capacities, sensory demands of a particular task or occupation and environmental sensory features. When these three things come together and support one another, we have health and wellness, flourishing and thriving.”

Sensory health is for all of us. It is an important aspect of our overall health that impacts on our physical, emotional and mental health. It isn’t just for people who have sensory processing differences or difficulties, this is for everybody. We are all sensory processing machines.

A little audit to complete

At the start of a new year, it is a great opportunity to think about sensory health within your organisation or home.  Here are a few initial questions to start your thinking:

  • What is the understanding of sensory health within your organisation/home?
  • Do you have policies in place that recognise the importance of sensory health within your organisation?
  • Do you consider the environment to promote sensory health?
  • Do you consider the sensory demands placed upon your pupils/employees/yourself?
  • What provision do you have in place to promote sensory health within your organisation/home?

Where do I go from here?

I would say one of the first places to start is with knowledge and understanding of sensory health and sensory processing. The three day in-depth introductory level course is a great starting point. Or you might want to arrange some in-service training for your organisation.

Courses

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Next course March 2024

Introduction to Sensory Integration and Sensory Processing Disorder
View Course Group 4
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Next course April 2024

Making SENSE of Behaviour
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