Sensory Integration Therapy

What is Sensory Integration Therapy?

Academic, motor and social skills are end products of sensory and motor experiences during infancy and early childhood.  An important part of development is the ability to organize information coming from the senses such as smell, taste, touch, sight, hearing, and movement.  We cannot see the brain organizing these sensations from the eyes, ears, or body, but we can see how it influences the way a child develops, learns, and behaves.

Sometimes information from the senses is not received and organized correctly by a child’s nervous system, and we may see developmental delays, motor issues, social issues, speech and language processing difficulties, perceptual, and/or behavioral disorders.  Sensory Processing Disorder or SPD (formerly known as Sensory Integration Dysfunction or DSI) can range from mild to severe and children may exhibit different symptoms.

Some signs of possible Sensory Processing Disorder are:

  • picky eating
  • sensitivity to touch, textures, or sound
  • short attention span
  • poor social interactions with peers
  • hitting or pushing others
  • difficulty following directions or understanding sequences of directions
  • fearfulness of movement or excess seeking out excess movement
  • decreased willingness to try new things
  • clumsiness
  • difficulty using utensils such as a fork/spoon or pencil
  • poor handwriting
  • delays in establishing hand dominance
  • poor sleep patterns

Occupational therapy is designed to help a child make use of sensory information, and early intervention can help minimize delays, improve neurological function, and promote learning, play, and social skills.  Occupational therapists facilitate sensory integration therapy by applying neurophysiological and developmental principles through purposeful and fun activities.  This sensory integration approach is based on the research and theoretical principles of Dr. A. Jean Ayres and others in the fields of occupational therapy, neurology, and the behavioral and social sciences.  By adapting the environment, providing therapeutic handling and motivating the child, a child’s cognitive skills, behavioral control, social maturity, and motor skills emerge in a more naturally developing sequence.  Therapeutic programs help children attain their greatest potential for development and learning so that a child can be successful in all they do.

Additonal Occupational Therapy Programs:

Feeding Programs
Handwriting Without Tears
Therapeutic Listening