solutions-for-7-types-of-sensory-needs So many different sensory types and so many different sensory needs. What is a parent or teacher to do? If you’re overwhelmed by sensory information, you can adapt solutions for a sensory seeker, an over responder or an under responder.
As a physical therapist, I’ve been fortunate to learn about sensory types from a few great occupational therapists. With this knowledge, I can help kids with their motor needs since it’s interconnected with sensory processing.
When you address both sensory and motor needs, the child can reach many more milestones.
You can say the same for a teacher. When sensory needs are addressed in the classroom, then the student is more able to focus and learn. Now I’d like to share my understanding of 7 sensory needs and solutions, which may help you as you teach, parent or practice.

Solutions for 7 types of Sensory Needs - Sensory Break Box
Sensory Break Box
1. Proprioceptive Needs:
  • Loves a tight hug or firm touch
  • Grasps objects too tightly
  • Craves deep pressure and vibration
  • May appear clumsy
  • Fears uneven surfaces or stairs/escalators
  • Prefers jumping or skipping to just walking
  • Has floppy/low muscle tone
Solutions for 7 types of Sensory Needs - Denim Weighted Vest
Denim Weighted Vest
Solutions for 7 types of Sensory Needs - Pressure Foam Roller
Pressure Foam Roller
Proprioceptive Solutions:
2. Vestibular Needs:
  • Loves to hang upside down
  • Has floppy/low tone
  • Craves movement that is fast or intense
  • Loves to spin
  • Always in motion
Solutions for 7 types of Sensory Needs - Whisper Tilt and Spin
Whisper Tilt and Spin
Solutions for 7 types of Sensory Needs - Cocoon Climbing Swing
Cocoon Climbing Swing
Vestibular Solutions:

3. Visual Needs:
  • Avoids bright lights
  • Shifts gaze to avoid eye contact
Solutions for 7 types of Sensory Needs - Heavy Herbert
Heavy Herbert
Solutions for 7 types of Sensory Needs - Optical Illusion Wall Panel
Optical Illusion Wall Panel
Visual Solutions:
4. Olfactory Needs
  • Super sensitive to smells like air freshener, coffee, etc.
Solutions for 7 types of Sensory Needs - Aromatherapy Sets
Aromatherapy Sets
Solutions for 7 types of Sensory Needs - Scented Putties
Scented Putties
Olfactory Solutions:
  • Use more natural deodorizers like essential oils
  • Use an electric air deodorizer for the room
5. Tactile Needs:
  • Avoids clothing in general
  • Touches things that are smooth or soothing
  • Avoids being barefoot or walking on grass, sand, carpet
  • Avoids seams and wears socks inside out
  • Cleans hands a lot
  • Does not like showers or getting wet
  • Does not like being touched
  • Avoids certain textures or textured material
Solutions for 7 types of Sensory Needs - Sens-ational Hip Hugging Tee
Sens-ational Hip Hugging Tee
Solutions for 7 types of Sensory Needs - Sensory Mini Mats
Sensory Mini Mats
Tactile Solutions: 6. Auditory Needs:
  • Easily startled by fireworks, loud noise, or crashing sounds
  • Turns volume up on music or TV
  • Always tapping feet or hands, or likes drumming
Auditory Solutions:
  • Provide noise-cancelling earmuffs
  • Encourage drum or percussion lessons
7. Oral Needs:
  • Bites
  • Chews on sleeves, non-food objects, fingers, etc.
  • Picky eater
  • Craves spicy, salty, or sour flavors
  • Does not like textured food
  • Does not like brushing teeth or having teeth cleaned
Oral Solutions:
  • Provide crunchy snacks such as apples, carrots or celery
  • Provide a favorite chewy to have on hand
  • Provide chewing gum
  • Encourage use of electric toothbrush or oral vibration device
Getting to know your child's sensory preferences can make the difference between frustration and success. If you need additional assistance with sensory preferences, reach out to your local occupational therapist who can be of great assistance in understanding your child's sensory needs.