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Sensory and Physical Needs

Sensory needs, which can be hearing loss and/or visual impairment or sensory processing difficulties and physical difficulties, can occur for a variety of reasons, e.g. congenital conditions (some progressive), injury or disease. The important consideration in this area is the degree to which the difficulties impact on a child’s or young person’s ability to access educational opportunities.


Different forms of Sensory and Physical Difficulties

Hearing Loss

  • Hearing loss can be sensorineural, conductive or mixed
  • The levels of hearing loss are mild, moderate, severe or profound. 

Vision Loss

  • Visual impairment is an eye condition that cannot be fully corrected by glasses or contact lenses
  • The levels of vision are mild, moderate, severe or profound. 

Multisensory Impairment

  • Multisensory impairment occurs when there is a hearing loss and visual impairment, which are both educationally significant although they may be at different levels.

Sensory Processing Difficulty

  • Our bodies and the environment send our brain information through our senses.  We process and organise this information so that we feel comfortable and secure. When a child has difficulty coping with these demands, they may have sensory processing difficulties.
  • A child may be under-sensitive or over-sensitive in the 5 areas:
    • Proprioception
    • Vestibular
    • Auditory
    • Oral Sensory
    • Tactile 

Physical Difficulty

  • Physical/medical injures can be for a variety of reasons, eg congenital conditions (some progressive), injury or disease.
    • A child with a physical difficulty may have a diagnosed medical condition which affects them physically. There may be an undiagnosed condition where the child presents with delayed development or impairment with their physical ability and/or presentation.

You might like to visit the following websites for more information.