Sensory Processing: Taste

Sensory Processing is the ‘why’ behind the ‘what’ of Autism Spectrum Disorders. We understand the world around us through our senses. This blog will focus on taste: hyper-sensitivity and hypo-sensitivity.


Hypersensitivity to Oral Input (Oral Defensiveness):
  • Picky eater, often with extreme food preferences; i.e., limited repertoire of foods, picky about brands, resistive to trying new foods or restaurants, and may not eat at other people's houses) 
  • May only eat "soft" or pureed foods past 24 months of age 
  • May gag with textured foods 
  • Has difficulty with sucking, chewing, and swallowing; may choke or have a fear of choking 
  • Resists / refuses / extremely fearful of going to the dentist or having dental work done 
  • May only eat hot or cold foods 
  • Refuses to lick envelopes, stamps, or stickers because of their taste 
  • Dislikes or complains about toothpaste and mouthwash 
  • Avoids seasoned, spicy, sweet, sour or salty foods; prefers bland foods
Hyposensitivity to Oral Input (Under-Registers):
  • May lick, taste, or chew on inedible objects 
  • Prefers foods with intense flavor; i.e., excessively spicy, sweet, sour, or salty 
  • Excessive drooling past the teething stage 
  • Frequently chews on hair, shirt, or fingers 
  • Constantly putting objects in mouth past the toddler years 
  • Acts as if all foods taste the same 
  • Can never get enough condiments or seasonings on his / her food 
  • Loves vibrating toothbrushes and even trips to the dentist

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