Our Sensory Profile Tool – The making of…
Developing the sensory profile tool has been a long road.
We recognised about 5 years ago through our conversations with thousands of people with sensory challenges that a tool was needed to help people get a quick assessment into the impact the senses had on their life.
So many people faced daily challenges and just never connected the dots that could be related to how their body was interpreting the world around them.
5 years ago, senses like proprioception, interoception, and vestibular were less widely known and understood, yet many were experiencing daily challenges as a direct result of their environment and how their body was interpreting it without ever realising these things could be connected.
Through conversation with the community, we saw common themes that we began to realise would be adapted into an easy-to-use and understand tool that could help people. We wanted to raise awareness of the impact of our senses and help people become their own sensory detectives, to spot patterns and trends that they could then use to improve their life.
We set out on a mission to demystify the senses. To find a way to identify simple, common and often overlooked behaviours and how they may be caused by the input being received.
That’s why we started developing the sensory profile tool
The Gamma Version
3 years ago we put together a survey, we called it the Sensory Survey. We developed it by taking each sense in turn and considering the common themes we had observed and turning them into questions. It was basic, it was crude, but it got a fantastic reception. The results in their thousands confirmed this was something useful, something people wanted and again the results confirmed there were themes to each sense, that gave clues to someone being over or under-sensitive.
We ran it again the year after with a similar impact. We were spending a lot of time fielding questions and offering support to people. Those people appreciated it, found it insightful. It gave them light at the end of the tunnel, a place to start, a better understanding.
That’s when we knew… we knew we had to create something that could, quickly and simply help people get a clear picture of how their Senses impacted their daily life.
The first port of call was to give people an insight into their unique sensory profile and that information could be used to take to a professional for further discussion and support. It’s sole purpose is to start people considering the senses and the great impact they can have. To feel comforted that these behaviors and feelings are not uncommon, to know they are not alone, to know they have a path to follow to get help.
In late 2019, we took it to the next stage. We decided it was time to start developing the sensory profile tool.
We worked with our community in small groups and our team to develop a range of questions, a scale, and a scoring system, aimed to give an accurate reflection of the balance each of the senses has on a person. This was not simple! 8 senses, hypersensitive, hypo sensitive, and mixed, leads to a lot of outcomes.
There were long days and nights, heated debates, poor results, starting from scratch numerous times. Alongside this, we lost count of the number of careful changes made to each question to each scale. It also took a significant investment in terms of both time and cash. But we knew it would be worth it.
IF we could nail it!
Asking the Pro’s
We finally had a working tool we felt was close to being right by late-2020.
We knew we also needed the input of the professionals and so sought out their view. We allowed a core group of occupational therapists, and other allied professionals to review the tool, give it a go, retake it, try and break it and report back.
Of course, the feedback led to many more tweaks and changes. The input was invaluable and the professionals loved the concept, a non-diagnostic tool that gave an individual some insight, a place to start a conversation. It was agreed by all on the final version, that although there were some areas we would like to and will improve, it did what was intended and would be a valuable tool to aid discussion around the senses and open an individual’s eyes to the impacts they can have. We were excited we had begun developing the sensory profile tool.
The Final Testing
After those tweaks based on the professional’s input, we returned to a core group in our community for final testing. The feedback confirmed we had got it as close to what we wanted and it would add value to people. A couple of wording changes were made and so it was set and it launched in May 2021.
How has it been performing?
It has been so well received, everyone who completes the profile which is on target for 29,000 in the first year, has the opportunity to feedback on how valuable and accurate they found it.
As of November 5th 2021 90% say it is an accurate reflection of their profile.
Now that’s a success!
Why do you need to create an account?
We need a ‘hook’ to hang the results on. That’s your account. You can opt-in and out of communications as is standard and in line with GDPR guidance, privacy laws etc as you would expect.
We call this our beta version. We are working on the alpha, I suspect developing the sensory profile tool will be an ever-moving ongoing labour of love.
In the future, we want to improve the scoring and interpretation of the mixed profiles and less dominant senses. It’s a brilliant tool for starting conversations with family members and professionals.
Providing tips and strategies. Improving awareness and understanding. Why not try it for yourself?