We are nothing without our senses.

Understanding Sensory 

Our brain receives information from our senses, telling us about our bodies and helping us understand the world around us. The organisation of that information is called Sensory Processing. 

Ordinarily, it’s an automatic, unconscious process that, when it’s a good sensory experience, leaves us feeling safe, secure and ready for exploration. 

However, sensory processing can be an overwhelming experience for infants and babies. 

For example, when a baby is born prematurely, their brain is not yet ready for the sensory experiences about to hit them. Painful interventions, separation from their parents and other stressful experiences can lead to trauma that changes their developing neurobiology and sensory systems, impacting occupations like sleeping, eating, posture and play.

Similarly, as babies get older, unhelpful environments at home, for example, stress or where parents have their own sensory challenges, can also influence brain development. This can mean sensory processing requires more effort and concentration or can be overwhelming, impacting everyday occupations. 

Our courses and mentoring aim to help you recognise sensory needs and create sensory environments in neonatal, perinatal and early intervention settings that give every baby and their family the best possible start.

Did you know we have eight senses, not five?

We’re all aware of our five senses; sight, taste, touch, hearing and smell. But did you know we also have three other senses that impact our balance (vestibular), movement (proprioceptive) and our ability to feel what’s happening inside our bodies (interoceptive)?

How can being more sensory informed help development?

Babies and infants

Babies’ sensory experiences from birth to three years influence brain development and behaviours across the life span. Therefore the sensory environment of the young child is of great importance, but this must include understanding, observing and informing all eight of the senses to give the baby the best start in life and promote a positive parent-infant relationship.


Understanding sensory development and recognising that parents are sensory beings in their own right provides an opportunity to explore the needs of the parent and child together, promoting parent-infant relationships.

You and your team

By helping you learn more about how sensory processing can help you and those you care for, the rewards you feel will be more significant, enabling a greater sense of satisfaction and fulfilment in your role.

“In doing the Sensory Beginnings course, I was reminded why I’m a neonatal OT. Emily and Lindsay reignited my passion for promoting and striving to understand the sensory experience of the infant.

I gained more in-depth knowledge about neuro-biology and learnt all sorts about the hierarchy of processing.”
Hannah Gormley
Occupational Therapist for Yorkshire and Humber Neonatal ODN & Neonatal Occupational Therapists, Leeds Children's Hospital

Learn more about sensory

We love to share what we know about babies sensory development. Pop over to our RESOURCES page to find more free information that is available for you to download today.

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