Have You Seen Sensory Integration Improve Work Results?

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Recently I watched this hilarious story that James McAvoy shared on the BBC Graham Norton Show. In his attempt to vulnerably communicate to a recipient who spoke a different language he appeared to confess the forbidden. If you have seen or experienced sensory integration improve work results then James’ experience is relatable.

Sensations are like languages.

Sensations affect the end result. Check out this list of sensory scenarios.

  • When laying in bed while reading a book you become sleepy.
  • When you smell coffee you want to taste it or become alert.
  • When you put on formal clothing you become empowered.

Every body has a unique inner-dialogue between sense and perception. Similar to a foreign language, an experience to one person is likely completely opposite to another but it’s within the same scenario. James McAvoy wasn’t able to use one sensory helper (words) in his moment of confession, therefore the guy walked away with his own perception.

People conclude understanding based on their sensory interpretation.

Some adults become averse to certain ‘normal’ sensations because there is a sensory processing barrier. To the adult it may be difficult to identify why there’s adversity in the scenario but it’s simply known to be an issue.

Here are three sensory scenarios with processing barriers:

  • Getting the motivation to simply get into bed.
  • Keeping daily intake to two cups of coffee a day.
  • Feeling irritable every time you wear that formal garment.

Resolving sensory processing barriers prevents adults from the onset of future disorders and dysfunctions. Skilled support provides:

  • Identifying individuals sensory sensitivities;
  • Integrating environment modifications; and,
  • Preparing the body’s central nervous system.

One study of college students returned an estimate of 15% having sensory hypersensitivity (Johnson & Irving, 2008). Preliminary literature identifies overall work performance and satisfaction as a direct correlation with sensory processing needs (Hough & Koenig, 2014; May-Benson & Kinnealey, 2012).

Todd Kashdan shared on the blog This is How I Work – In Science several sensory-related productivity tips to how he works. “I tie many daily activities to environmental triggers.” Todd has seen how sensory integration improves work results. He leads being productive through appealing to his central nervous system needs.

Sensory integration includes assessing the central nervous system responses to environmental triggers involved in an activity.

For more information check out this American Occupational Therapy Association Fact Sheet.

A direct quote from the Fact Sheet titled ‘Adults of all ages with sensory processing disorders‘:

Many adults have never been diagnosed, so they haven’t had the opportunity to develop coping skills and adaptive performance mechanisms. Many of these adults have trouble with interpersonal relationships, vocational skills, leisure activities, and general quality of life. Occupational therapy practitioners can provide direct services, or they can offer accommodations and sup- ports. For example, an adult who is easily distracted at work may benefit from an occupational therapist who works with the client and employer to recommend modifications such as headphones if feasible, or envi- ronmental adaptations such as moving the client’s desk to minimize external sensory input.

Adults without healthy leisure activities could also benefit from an occupational therapist who can analyze their sensory needs, identify their strengths, then offer options and supports that promote engagement (Kinnealy et al., 2011).

Is your health and wellness provider supporting sensory integration needs? Contact us to learn how we provide this unique support to our Clients.



Johnson, M.E., & Irving, R. (2008, September). Implications of sensory defensiveness in a college population. Sensory Integration Special Interest Section Quarterly, 31 (2), 1-3

May-Benson, T., & Kinnealey, M. (2012). An Approach to assessment of and intervention for adults with sensory processing disorder. OT Practice, 17(17), CE-1-CE-8

Kinnealey, M., Koenig, K. P., & Smith, S. (2011). Relationships between sensory modulation and social supports and health related quality of life. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 65, 320–327. doi: 10.5014/ajot.2011.001370