What are Sensory Organs?

Sensory Organs in the
Human Body include, eyes, ears, mouth/tounge, nose, and fingers. The five senses include vision, hearing, smell, touch, and taste.

Vision: The eyes are the organs for vision. Here are just a few facts about sight and vision. Most people blink every 2-10 seconds. If you only had one eye, everything would appear 2-dimesional. One is every twelve males are color blind.
Vision- Link to help you better understand the sence of sight
Hearing: The ear is the organ for hearing. The outer ear is on the outside of the head and is shaped like a cup to direct sounds toward the tympanic membrane, which then causes vibrations in the middle ear and then the inner ear consists of the cochlea which transmits the vibrations to the brain by the auditory nerve. The brain then combines the input to determine the direction and distance of sounds.
Hearing - Link to help you better understand the sense of hearing

Smell: The nose is the organ responsible for smell. The cavity of the nose is lined with mucous membranes that have smell receptors that are connected to the olfactory nerve. The smell receptors interact with molecules of the vapors and transmit the sensations to the brain. The smell receptors are sensitive to seven types of sensation: camphor, musk, flower, mint, ether, acrid or putrid. The sense of smell is sometimes temporarily lost when a person has a cold.
Smell - Link to help you better understand the sense of smell

Touch: The sense of touch is distributed throughout the body. Nerve endings in the skin trasmit sensations to the brain. Some parts have larger number of nerve endings which would be more sensitive. Four kinds of touch sensations include cold, heat, contact, and pain. When the skin has hair, it will be a more sensitive that skin without hair.
Touch - Link to help you better understand the sense of touch

Taste: Receptors for taste are called the taste buds. They are found on the tounge and on the roof of the mouth. The receptors are able to detect four basic tastes: sour, sweet, salty and bitter.
Taste
- Link to help you better understand the sense of taste


Sources: http://www.scientificpsychic.com/workbook/chapter2.htm

How do Sensory Organs apply to Occupational Therapy?
As OTA's we thrive on Sensory issues! We have many patients with Vision, Hearing, Smelling, Tasting and Touch deficits. We are just going to focus on a patient who had a Stroke. If our patient recently had a CVA and had a visual field cut we would address these issues: First, where is their visual field cut? Left Eye? Right Eye? Both? Sometimes the patient can see out of both eyes but cannot see out of the left half of both eyes! That is called a Homonymous Hemianopsia. It all depends on what part of the brain the CVA took place in!

If our patient had hearing loss we would make sure they understood that they can get hearing aides to help them with this issue. If that does not help, we would make sure they are utilizing their other senses to assist them in their daily life. Teach them to constantly look around at their surroundings and what is going on at all times. They would especially need to do this if they were out in the community. People and Cars could sneak up on them without them knowing and they could get seriously hurt. If they did not know sign language, we would discuss places that they could go to get help with learning sign language. We could also make them a picture chart for common things that they might need help with while talking with someone.
If the patient had issues with smell we would first find out how damaged it that sense is. We would start with soft, smells like lavender and work up to things like coffee and garlic to see if they can smell at all. If there was no smell detected, this would be a safety concern. If there was ever a fire the patient would not be able to smell smoke. You would want to make sure all smoke alarms are in good condition and maybe set up a program for them incase a fire does occur at their home. You would also want to make sure they are constantly checking dates on food items because they will not be able to smell if they have spoiled.
If a patient had a touch issue, we would want to make sure they acknowledge the area that they cannot feel. Sometimes when you have a stroke, you have a left side neglect. Which means you dont even realize you have a left side of your body. You would want the patient to use their right arm to grab their left arm so they start acknowleging that it is there! You want to pay special attention to their left side to make sure there isn't any injuries to this area. If they are in a nursing home you may also want to set up the room so they have to turn to the left to watch TV or look out the window. This will also help to get the patient to acknowledge their left side. You want constant stimulation to the left side whether its rubbing their arm, having them grab their arm, doing hand over hand activities, and always speaking to them on their left side.
If the Patient has taste issues we would gather different food items to see which taste buds have been effected. We would have them taste something salty, sweet, bitter and sour. We would want to make sure that the patient is not allergic to any food items that we might give them.