January 28, 2019

Leading off our tour of the sensory systems in a newer to the world of OT 8th system called interoception.  This system may be lesser known but it is very important!


Often referred to as “The eighth sense”, interoception is the understanding of the internal condition of our body, or the feeling of what is going on inside your body. Feelings of nausea, hunger, headaches, or digestion are all aspects of interoception.

Awareness to these body sensations allow us to fully experience emotions such as hunger, pain, body temperature, anxiety, frustration, and safety. Interoception allows us to manage how we feel by prompting us to take action based on body signals. For example, how would you know you are sick if you don’t FEEL sick?

Impaired interoception can impact anyone however it is commonly seen with autism or sensory processing disorder. If you have concerns relating to your child’s level of interoception awareness, an evaluation from a skilled occupational therapist would be beneficial to further assess your child’s needs.

Red Flags:

  • You are frequently finding injuries on your child’s body that they did not report (dark bruises, burns, chipped teeth etc.)
  • Your child unexpectedly gets sick and vomits without any signs or symptoms ahead of time
  • Your child has a difficult time describing pain, discomfort, and pinpointing which part of his/her body is uncomfortable
  • Your child does not request food or drink unless prompted by social cues for meal times
  • Your child does not report when things are clearly too hot or too cold

If you feel your child demonstrates any of these red flags OT focused on helping develop the insula by make it more aware of sensations in the body may help.  Please feel free to contact us at or by phone (317)841-7005 ext 113.


Information pulled from interoception guru Kelly Mahler and compiled by Jessie McCleery, OTR/L


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