APPENDIX 8: Sensory Systems

Table 24: 7 Sensory Systems

Sensory Systems

Provides Safety Information


Touch (Tactile)

if something is too hot, cold, sharp or will cause us harm; how much food is in the mouth

the feel of the spoon in our hand or mouth; food on our face or textures in our mouth; someone handling you during mealtimes or providing hand over hand assistance

Vision (Visual)

if something looks unusual or unappealing; if we are sitting up; if something is rushing towards us, we need to move out of the way

size, shape or texture of food; colour or consistency of food or drink; where our utensils are on the table

Hearing (Auditory)

about activities happening in our environment that may affect us

the crunch or slosh of food; the sound of someone’s voice providing directions

Taste (Gustatory)

if something doesn’t taste right

salty, bitter, sweet, sour, spicy

Smell (Olfactory)

if something doesn’t smell right

the smells of food and food cooking can start the preparation sequence for mealtimes for example salivation

Movement (Vestibular)

does it feel like I am falling over or tripping

am I sitting still, does my body move as I lift my arm to feed myself

Body position (Proprioception)

feedback about pressure and stretch; protect our muscles and joints; quantity of food in the mouth

chew, scoop food with a spoon and bring it to our mouth, manipulate finger foods; provides detailed information on the properties of objects in our mouth: density, size, and stretch ability of food

(NSW Office of Kids and Families, 2016)