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Use the information provided on this site as an educational resource for determining your options and making your
own informed choices. It is not intended as medical advice or to diagnose, prescribe, or treat any specific illness.
Taste often brings us pleasure. We tend to eat the things that taste good! But taste can also warn us of
danger. We know that milk may be sour or food may be spoiled based on the way they taste. But a person
with sensory integration dysfunction may be either a very picky eater, avoiding certain (or many) tastes
and textures, or may be an indiscriminate eater, eating almost anything! Taste is an area which will likely
cause more distress and grief for the parents of children with sensory problems, than for teachers and peers.
HYPERSENSITIVITY TO ORAL INPUT (oral defensiveness)
HYPOSENSITIVITY TO ORAL INPUT (under-registers)
We are often surrounded by fragrant scents from perfume and flowers, and delicious smells of popcorn and
freshly-baked bread or cookies. Other smells we encounter in our environment include cleaning agents,
newly mowed grass, car exhaust, and smoke. Our sense of smell can bring us pleasure, enhance our ability
to taste our food, and warn us of danger. However, as with the other senses, the sense of smell can cause
frustration for a person whose brain is not able to properly analyze, screen out, or respond to the
information it receives. Some people are overly sensitive to smells, and a whiff of perfume or cleansers can
be very distressing to them. Other people are under-reactive to smells, and may hold things close to their
nose to be able to smell them better. Whether they are overly- or under-reactive to smells, students who are
keenly aware of the smells around them in the classroom may be unable to concentrate on the work they
should be doing.
HYPERSENSITIVITY TO SMELLS (over-responsive):
HYPOSENSITIVITY TO SMELLS (under-responsive):
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