The basic assumption behind SID (Sensory Integration Dysfunction) or SPD (Sensory Processing Disorder) appears to be that there is an ideal level of sensibility/sensory receptiveness which ought to be the same for everyone, regardless of age, gender, temperament etc.

When someone has sensory experiences that differ from this standard, the hypothesis is that the incoming information from the senses are received correctly but processed abnormally, leading to either of the following:

In some cases of extreme hyper- or hypo-sensitivity, I believe this hypothesis has merit, especially when it comes to the more somatic senses like touch, sense of movement (vestibular system) and position (proprioception) – which also seem to be the most easily treated with Sensory Integration Techniques.

However, there are also natural, genetic variations in sensory sensibility that are perfectly normal for that particular body type or temperament. To generalise a little:

* An extrovert, sensory, tactile, intense, high-energetic ‘Hunter’ type individual may have an innate and perfectly valid need to get hands-on sensory experiences of the world in order to be adequately stimulated and informed.

* An introvert, intuitive, creative, Highly Sensitive Person is often born with a more delicate nervous system and more well-developed or finely tuned senses all around. A case of enhanced sensory perception rather than ‘abnormal sensory processing’. Such a person usually only needs a calm environment and to be treated with care to feel & function just fine.


Physiology of Homo Sapiens – Sense Organs

Sensory Integration International



  1. Karen said,

    I like the point that you make–that it is not necessarily a “dysfunction,” but just a difference that is simply natural. Thank you!

  2. rainman said,

    Interesting the way you use ‘hunter’ here. I always figured it was the opposite and those willing to sit motionless and automatically listen to every slightest rustle and watch every hint of motion on the horizon for hours without getting bored were the hunter types. I’m guessing based on personal experience.

    • Ing said,

      You are right of course, but I’m using the word “Hunter” in the more symbolical sense which Thom Hartmann coined in relation to ADHD, not what it means to be an actual hunter with a gun nowadays.

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