Sensory Integration is the organization of sensations for use. Our senses give us information about the physical conditions of our body and the environment around us.
- Jean Ayres
For most people sensory integration develops in the course of ordinary childhood activities. When a person has good sensory integration then they are able to process information automatically and efficiently. But for some people, sensory integration does not develop as efficiently as it should and can affect activities of daily living, academic achievement, behavior or social participation.
Children can present with different types of sensory integration difficulties (also known as sensory processing difficulties). These include:
• Fear of heights
• Dislike of touch experiences e.g. nail cutting, messy play, hair cutting
• Dislike of loud and sudden sounds
• Avoidance of playground equipment (swings and slides)
• Appears to have no fear or doesn’t feel pain
• Seeks movement or touch opportunities (fidgets, rocks, runs about, leans on peers)
• Mouths or chews things
• Poor attention to the environment or people around
• Appears clumsy
• Difficulty creating movement ideas
• Difficulty planning and executing new movements
• Slouches at desk
• Fidgets/difficulty sitting in one position for extended period of time
• Impact on fine motor coordination & ball skills
• Poor balance
Sensory integration provides occupational therapists with a framework for assessing and treating children who present with the difficulties outlined above. *Please see our assessments page for more information.