Sensory Integration Therapy

sensory kara dodds 01Sensory integration therapy enables a child to improve and develop automatic and appropriate responses to environmental experiences so they can improve function in their daily lives

Sensory Integration refers to the neurological process of receiving, organizing, and responding to input from the sensory systems.  This information can be auditory, visual, taste, tactile, Vestibular (balance & movement), Proprioceptive (muscle & joint sense). A person’s ability to function in their daily environments is dependent adequately processing sensory information.

Sensory Integrative Dysfunction (SID) occurs when the system is unregulated and isn’t able to properly regulate sensory information. Common hallmarks that a child may be having sensory integration concerns may be:

  • Difficulty getting and keeping attention (e.g. easily distracted)
  • Unusually high or low activity levels (e.g. can’t calm down or can’t get revved up)
  • Has impulsive behavior (e.g. risk taker)
  • May be clumsy, awkward, or accident prone (e.g. issues with muscle tone or coordination)
  • Difficulty in transitions (e.g. resistance to new situations)
  • Uncooperative with any minor changes to routine
  • Difficulty in school (e.g. attending, social)
  • Difficulty making friends (e.g. social difficulties)

What is Sensory Integration Therapy?  Occupational therapist will guide your child through a variety of activities to help train their body to properly process sensory information by providing your child with proper amount and type of sensory information needed by their system to function successfully.  By providing the appropriate sensory information your child is able to develop adaptive behavior that leads to improved function and independence.

What are activities involved in Sensory Integration Therapy? Some examples are the use of specialized swings designed to improve vestibulary and/or proprioceptive skills allowing children to experience specific movement sensations. Therapy balls are implemented allowing children sensory information by lying or sitting on them to improve balance and core strength.  Creating and moving through obstacle courses designed to improve motor planning, attention to task, sequencing, and completion of task are also used.

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