Sensory Integration Therapy
The body takes in information through seven (yes, 7) sensory systems. Five are commonly known: Sight, smell, hearing, taste, and touch. However, two senses are lesser known, but no less significant. These senses are: Vestibular, which tells us where our bodies are in space, and give us what is called “gravitational security”, or the knowledge that we can move without falling, and Proprioceptive, which tells us where our body parts are in relation to one another. This sense gives us the ability to know where each part of our body starts and stops, and to coordinate how we move our body in order to accomplish tasks.
When a child’s body and brain cannot communicate well about information coming from ANY of the seven senses, the input becomes confusing or meaningless to the child. This may lead to behavioral problems, delays in skill development, or a child’s inability to function in every day roles and tasks.
A child who is struggling to process sensory information may:
- Move fast and often
- Have difficulty sitting still
- Avoid noise, touch, or movement
- Avoid, or become distressed by, busy environments
- Be sensitive to food or clothing textures (picky eater or dresser)
- Have difficulty listening
- Be frequently defiant, or like to be “in control”
- Appear clumsy or accident prone
- Tire more easily than others his/her age
After a an evaluation of each child’s specific sensory processing strengths and concerns, a treatment plan is developed to target those sensory areas where the child is either under- or over- sensitive. Sensory Therapy teaches the child’s body to better read, interpret, and use sensory information coming in from the environment. It also helps the child to learn what the body needs in order to function well. Improved sensory processing allows the child to interact with the environment more effectively and improve focus tasks.
The child/family will often see improvements in:
- Independent and age-appropriate eating/dressing (less picky, appropriate to weather)
- Ability to interact appropriately with family members and peers
- Ability to focus on tasks such as school work or chores
- Decrease in hyperactivity