What are the three hidden senses?
The 3 Hidden Senses
- Vestibular – governs balance, where your head is in space, and how fast you are moving
- Proprioception- input to the muscles and joints that tells us where our bodies are in space
- Interoception- a sense of internal organs
We have what I call our three "hidden" senses. These are vestibular, proprioception, and interoception. It may be hard for parents to understand these three hidden senses. I try to use examples of what this might look like in their home.
The Vestibular System.
- The vestibular system is governed by your inner ear and tells us where our heads are in space, whether right side up or upside down.
- It tells us how fast we are moving and helps with the balance and coordination of both sides of the body.
- It influences muscle tone, posture, and coordination between eye movements and head movements.
The vestibular system influences muscle tone, posture, and coordination between eye and head movements. We may see kids that have visual perceptual or tracking issues. Obviously, this can be a part of the visual system, but it is also highly correlated to the vestibular system and the inner ear. I like to ask questions like, "Did they have a lot of ear infections when they were a kid?" "Did they have any medical procedures or surgeries?" I try to get a lot of that background to make sure that I am covering my bases and identifying any red flags.
The Proprioceptive System.
- The proprioceptive system is the input to our muscles and joints during heavy work. It tells us information about movement, position, and force exerted by muscles and joints.
- Tells where your body is in space
The proprioception system is input to the muscles and joints and informs us about movement, position, and where our body is in space. You may see a child navigate through a busy environment and bump into things, or they appear clumsy. These behaviors may result from a motor issue, or they may be due to decreased body awareness.
Interoception- 8th System.
- Internal temperature
- The feeling of hunger/fullness
- Do I have to use the bathroom?
- Am I tired?
- Does my stomach hurt?
- Check out Cara Koscinski’s latest book
Interoception is the eighth sensory system. Am I hungry? Am I full? Am I hot? Am I cold? How am I feeling about that internal sense of self? There are several different resources out there about interoception. I love Cara Koscinski's book. She is the Pocket OT. She is a friend of mine, and I love her stuff.