How to Understand Sensory Issues: Exploring Their Impact on Children and Adults

When it comes to the human experience, we rely heavily on our senses to navigate and interact with the world around us. However, for some individuals, the processing of sensory information can be challenging, leading to what is commonly known as sensory issues. In this article, we will delve into the concept of sensory issues and shed light on how they can significantly impact the lives of both children and adults.

child boy playing at home in sensory box with kinetic sand.Development of fine motor skills.sensory

What are Sensory Issues?

Sensory issues, also referred to as sensory processing difficulties or sensory processing disorders, occur when the brain struggles to organise and interpret the information received through the senses. Our senses include sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell, as well as the less well-known senses, such as proprioception (awareness of body position) and vestibular (balance and movement).

Individuals with sensory issues may have an over- or under-sensitivity to certain sensory stimuli, making everyday activities challenging. For example, a person with sensory sensitivity might find certain sounds or textures unbearable, while another individual may crave intense sensory input to feel regulated.

Common Signs and Symptoms

Sensory Processing Difficulties can manifest in various ways and affect individuals differently. It’s important to remember that each person’s experience with sensory issues is unique. Here are some common signs and symptoms:


  • Overwhelm or discomfort in loud or busy environments
  • Heightened response to certain smells, tastes, or textures
  • Difficulty filtering background noise, leading to distraction


  • Seeking out intense sensory input, such as constantly touching objects or seeking movement
  • Appearing unresponsive to sensory stimuli that most people notice
  • Trouble judging personal space and boundaries

Challenges with Motor Skills:

  • Poor coordination and balance
  • Difficulty with fine motor skills, like using utensils or handwriting
  • Preference for sedentary activities or avoidance of physical tasks

Social and Emotional Difficulties:

  • Overwhelm in social situations
  • Difficulty making and maintaining friendships
  • Challenges with self-regulation and emotional control

The Impact on Daily Life for children and Adults who suffer from Sensory Challenges

Sensory issues can significantly impact the daily lives of both children and adults. Children with sensory issues may struggle with academic performance, social interactions, and self-esteem. Sensory challenges can make it difficult for them to focus in a classroom environment or participate in group activities. Adults with sensory issues may find it challenging to navigate work environments, public spaces, and social gatherings.

Understanding and addressing Sensory Sensitivities is crucial for individuals to thrive in their daily lives. Occupational therapy, sensory integration therapy, and sensory-based strategies can provide valuable support. These interventions focus on helping individuals develop coping mechanisms, enhance sensory processing skills, and create sensory-friendly environments.


Sensory Processing Difficulties can pose significant challenges for individuals of all ages. By recognising the signs and symptoms, we can create a more inclusive and understanding environment for those with sensory sensitivities. Seeking appropriate interventions and support is essential in helping children and adults with sensory issues lead fulfilling