The Foundational Four: Sensory Secrets and the Senses You Didn't Know You Had.

Know the Foundational Senses: How to recognize & regulate these four senses with activities.

We thought it was important to inform others that we have EIGHT senses, not five, and 3 are ones you likely have never heard about! Many of us are taught the FIVE senses in school: Seeing, Hearing, Smell, Taste, and Touch.

What we are missing are the Foundational senses of: Vestibular, Proprioceptive, and Interoceptive. These THREE are of particular import as they help our bodies know we are safe and secure in out internal and external states of just being. For every sense, we can be under or over responsive to any of our 8 senses, and when we are, that often causes challenges to how we interact with the world around us. For example, we may avoid certain activities or be thrill-seeking in others!

Our sensory systems are complicated and no one's the same! The 8 senses work together to support their integration and to ensure our survival in this world. Some have more protective factors while others enhance each other. Our goal is to help you know each sense in more depth so that you may see behaviors as a result of sensory dysfunctions and “neuron traffic jams” versus conscious choices of children. When you can respond to a child struggling from this “body before brain” lens, you can feel more confident in having success in managing the behaviors and guiding a child towards healthy behavioral interventions that actually calm their bodies and decrease stress for everyone.


Our primary senses are called the Foundational Four. These include: Touch (Tactile), Proprioception(Body Location), Vestibular(Balance), and Interoception(Internal state). When these four are not working just right, we and those around us notice! Often this can look like quirks, behavioral challenges and emotional reactivity. Not knowing about them places humans at a disadvantage particularly parents, who don’t see these challenges coming until you are begging for answers and are at your wits end.

In this article, we will break down and discuss the Foundational Four. While the Functional Four tend to provide our sensory system with external signals, our Foundational Four tend to receive inte