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Q&A: Under-Responsive to Interoceptive Input?


I took your course titled “Developing and Implementing Effective Sensory Diets.” I have a lingering question. You discussed children who have near sensory issues, such as lack of/decreased sense of hunger, thirst, etc. What can be done for these children? I know of a child with CHARGE Syndrome who I think might fit in this category. I have heard of medication to make a child feel hunger, but I am not familiar with how common this is or what other options there may be. I would truly appreciate your help.

Gwen’s Answer:

Thank you for taking my course!

The three near sensory systems are proprioception, vestibular, and interoception. The symptoms you mentioned are most likely interoceptive in nature.

Appetite stimulants are fairly commonly prescribed and may be necessary when growth is a factor.

As far as other ways to treat interoceptive dysfunction, we primarily aim to increase interoceptive awareness by activities such as mindfulness training, teaching a child to become aware of heart rate, respiratory rate, muscle tension, and so on. Also, there is some indication that vestibular input can be beneficial. So, in the case of a child who doesn’t seem to have an appetite (indicative of under-responsiveness to interoceptive input), we may use alerting vestibular strategies to “wake up” the interoceptive system.

I just gave a webinar titled the “Interoceptive Sensory System” that is now available in view-on-demand format here that may be helpful to you:

The Interoceptive Sensory System

Please let me know if I can be of further assistance.

Best Wishes,