How to Support Interoception Discrimination Disorder

Interoception discrimination disorder affects one’s ability to detect or respond to internal bodily cues. It is one of the eight subtypes of Sensory Discrimination Disorder (SDD) and one of many manifestations of Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). Learn more about SPD and its subtypes here.

See below for some ways to identify and support discrimination challenges.

Those with Interoception Discrimination Disorder May:

  • Have disproportionately weak reactions—or no reaction—to normal bodily cues.
  • Have a high pain threshold and may not notice when injured.
  • Be unable to register hunger, thirst, or the need to use the bathroom until it’s an emergency.
  • Be unable to detect increased heart rate or breathing and may not feel tired until totally exhausted.

How to Support Interoception Discrimination Disorders:

  • Practice ways to identify normal bodily processes, such as placing your hand on your chest to feel a racing heartbeat.
  • Use the bathroom or have a small snack before each new activity or transition, such as getting into the car or going to bed.
  • Work with an occupational therapist or develop self-regulation strategies.

Keep in mind that no two children are exactly alike, and most people exhibit both seeking and avoiding behaviors from time to time. If you think your child might be suffering from sensory processing issues, you should seek a professional assessment. The STAR Institute’s Treatment Directory is a great resource that can help you find therapists, doctors, and community resources in your area.

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