What is Interoception?

Interoception is the internal body sense that helps us understand and feel what's happening inside our bodies, such as hunger, thirst, and temperature. It's often referred to as the eighth sense and plays a key role in regulating vital body functions.

What is Interoception?

Interoception is the ability to sense and interpret internal bodily sensations. It helps individuals understand what is happening inside their bodies, such as hunger, thirst, pain, and internal temperature. It is also known as the eighth sense and plays a crucial role in regulating vital functions like body temperature, hunger, and thirst.

How is Interoception Related to Emotions?

Interoception not only helps in understanding physical sensations but also aids in interpreting emotions. It is a multi-sensory foundation that helps us understand how we feel, which is key to emotional regulation. For instance, if you notice your stomach is growling, you might recognize it as hunger and take action to eat.

How Does Interoception Affect Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)?

  • People with ASD often show impaired sensory processing, including the interoceptive system.
  • For some, body signals can feel very intense, while for others, they can feel dull or muted.
  • Some examples of interoceptive challenges in children with ASD include difficulty identifying when they are feeling overwhelmed or anxious and not spotting tense muscles, racing heart, or hot face.

Why Might the Development of Interoception Slow Down or Stop for Autistic People?

It is not known why the development of interoception can slow down or even stop for autistic people. However, it may be due to a self-protection mechanism associated with trauma.

How Does Interoception Affect Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)?

Children with ADHD may have disordered eating and interoceptive deficits. They may have trouble knowing when they feel hungry, full, hot, cold, or thirsty. They may also have trouble with self-regulation, such as not knowing why they're feeling off and can have meltdowns.

What are Some Ways to Improve Interoception for Kids?

  • Yoga: Focuses on listening to your body and providing good proprioceptive and vestibular input.
  • Pretend there is a lightsaber scanning their body: Can be a game for younger kids.
  • Ask questions about their pain: Many Autistic and ADHD kids have "stomach pain".

How Does Mindfulness Help in Connecting with Our Bodies?

Mindfulness is one practice that can help us connect with our bodies. It is the practice of being present in the moment, and what it feels like to sit on a chair, take a deep breath, or what it feels like to do something else.

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