a woman teaching a child with flash cards

Interoception, nicknamed the ‘eighth sense’, helps us to perceive a wide variety of sensations within our bodies. For example, a growling stomach, full bladder, relaxed muscles, dry mouth, sore ears, pounding heart, or sweaty skin are all sensations some might experience because of interoception.

These interoceptive sensations provide vital clues to what emotion or body needs we are feeling. For example, our body sensations can be clues to thirst, hunger, sleepiness, need for the toilet, pain, body temperature, anxiety, or excitement.

Because interoception helps us be clear on how our body feels, it becomes a vital aspect of successfully regulating and communicating our needs and emotions.

Given that speech and language therapists are the experts in human communication, and interoception provides a valuable foundation for the communication process, interoception becomes a crucial consideration. For example, if a client has an unclear interoception experience, it can be an unfair expectation for them to communicate how they feel or what they need (e.g., “I’m hungry” or “I need quiet” or “Drink please”). In other words, if you are not clear on what you are feeling, how can you communicate it?

Therefore, by helping each client explore and understand their own inner feels, it provides a platform for building language around their inner feels and that eventually supports their communication of their inner feels in a way that allows them to be understood by others.