SPD Information Symptoms Impact on the Senses

Impact on the Senses

The Gustatory (Taste) Sense

Overview of the Gustatory sense

Otherwise known as the sense of taste, the gustatory sense is perceived through a multitude of small receptors toward the back of the tongue, known commonly as taste buds. Those with a well regulated sense of taste will have little difficulty tolerating a wide array of taste sensations, and will not have too hard of a time learning to adapt to knew tastes. Going to new restaurants and trying food they haven't eaten before is often a treat, and if they taste something that has gone bad, they will be well alerted by their taste buds, and will know when to spit something out. While they may have taste preferences and crave certain flavors, they will not be so dependant upon them that they end up significantly limiting their diet.

Gustatory Defensiveness

For those who suffer from gustatory defensiveness, however, it is not so easy to always enjoy trying that new menu item or breaking from their usual dietary routine. Certain flavors may be unbearable to them, as they will have a hard time tolerating numerous foods, be they sweet, sour, salty, or spicy. While they may find great pleasure in some foods, their diets are often heavily restricted by their taste sensitivities. As small children, they may have limited their menu to a small handful of items, which may have led to growth problems and potentially even a diagnosable case of Failure To Thrive. As adults, they may be under-eaters, or will just be considered as very picky eaters, sticking to only a few 'favorite food items' and rarely breaking the trend.

Gustatory Under-Responsiveness

When a person has an under-responsiveness to taste sensations, they will have difficulty enjoying the full variety of foods that are available to them. While they may be able to eat virtually anything you put in front of them, they simply won't be able to taste what others can. They may also not be adequately alerted if they are eating something that is harmful to them.

Gustatory Seeking

Gustatory seekers are constantly in search of oral input. They seek out certain flavors, be they sweet, spicy, or sour, and may even be guilty of overeating. If they are also orally seeking, they will tend to grind and clench their teeth, and will seek out certain textures of food, as well as flavors. They are often found eating during times that they need to focus, as it provides them with the organizing sensations they are craving to better facilitate a lengthy attention span.

Gustatory Discrimination Disorder

Those who have difficulty with gustatory discrimination will have a hard time distinguishing between flavors, especially if they are even remotely similar. They may have a hard time determining whether or not their food is at an ok temperature, or whether or not it has even gone bad. They may also have great difficulty describing the way something tastes, as their brains do not send them the right messages as to how that food tastes.