Olfactory (Smell)


The olfactory system is responsible for the body’s ability to detect and recognize smells using chemical receptors in the nasal cavity. Children with olfactory processing issues may have trouble identifying hazardous or poisonous substances, such as gasoline, or they may be able to detect very faint scents others can’t perceive. Because smell is one of the two senses associated with flavor, sensitive children may also be hyper aware of smells associated with food and cooking.

Smell Seeking Smell Avoiding
  • Actively smells everything, even things with unpleasant odors
  • Frequently complains about unpleasant smells (holds nose, gags)
How to Support How to Support
  • Encourage safe sniffing of new and interesting objects (candles, flowers, scented markers, etc.).
  • Minimize artificial scents in the home (cleaners, air fresheners, etc.).
  • Be conscious of strong cooking smells.
  • Encourage others to be conscious of scents in perfumes, lotions, and soaps.
  • Use a comforting scent to “reset” after experiencing a negative odor.

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