sensory processing aqua figure imagesensory processing subheader image

Functions related to the sensations occuring in the central nervous system, including reception, modulation, integration and organization of sensory stimuli and the behavioral responses induced (Bundy, Lane & Murray, 2002). The sensory processing mechanisms are not isolated and interact with other brain functions (Dunn, 2001). A sensory profile or sensory pattern is a concept that human sensory processing is on a continuum and each person has a unique sensory pattern that processes input from the varous sensory systems (Dunn, 2008). There are many descriptions of sensory processing by many authors that relate to their individual approaches and research of this area. When conducting a review of the literature for my thesis I elected to use frames of references by Hanschu, Dunn and Miller. Dunn authored a book for laymen, Living Sensationally: Understanding Your Senses, based on her academic research. She converted many of her terms into a vernacular terminology that I found was more understandable for the caregivers I work with.

Sensory Patterns

Bystander: also described as low registration or under-responsivity

Seeker: sensation seeking or sensory seeking

Sensor: sensory sensitivity, sensory defensiveness or over responsivity

Avoider: sensation avoiding

Active Self-Regulation: sensory modulation

Passive Self-regulation: sensory modulation


Dunn, W. (2008). Living sensationally: Understanding your senses. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.