Sensory Integration Therapy

“the organization of sensations for use. The neurological process that organises sensation from one’s own body and from the environment and makes it possible to use the body effectively within the environment”

What is Sensory Integration Therapy?

Dr Ayres (1972) describes Sensory Integration as “the organization of sensations for use. The neurological process that organises sensation from one’s own body and from the environment and makes it possible to use the body effectively within the environment”. It helps us to do the things we need to do in our everyday life.

Difficulties can occur when this complex system does not receive, process or integrate the information from the body and environment effectively. Sometimes there is not enough or there is too much information and this impacts on the individual’s response to the sensory input. Difficulties with sensory processing may impact on a child’s ability to:

Move [running, jumping, riding a bike, climbing]
Complete Personal Care Activities [such as fasten buttons/zips, hold a knife and fork, use the toilet, dressing and undressing]
Play Skills [limited ideas for games, not knowing how to play with others, repetitive play]
School Skills [difficulties with concentration, sitting still, handwriting, PE skills]

Children may also respond to sensory stimuli differently. Children may be over-responsive or under-responsive to sensory stimuli which may impact on a child’s behaviour;

Responses to sensory stimuli [e.g. sensitive to loud noises such as hand dryers or alarms, touch such as teeth brushing and being hugged]
May seek sensory stimuli [e.g. spinning, rocking back and forth in chair, tip toe walking, chewing on non-edible food items]
Concentration and Attention [e.g. having difficulty listening and retaining instructions, easily distracted, unable to sit still, may appear not to be listening]

If a child is experiencing these difficulties and they impacting on their functioning within the home environment or academic learning, then an assessment may be useful.