Sensory Integration

Changing Lives One Step at a Time

Sensory Integration (SI) Therapy helps to harmonize an individual’s nervous system in order to process and make meaning of incoming sensory information they receive from the environment. On a daily basis, we are inundated with sensory data from the world we live in.   We receive constant information via our sensory receptors for vision, smell, hearing, positional sense and even have receptors located within our muscles, organs and joints.  Wherever they may be located, our numerous receptors send electrical signals to our brain, which in turn has to process and understand the information.  Processing inefficiencies, delays and mixed signals can confuse the nervous system resulting in behavioral changes or feelings of distress and inadequacy.  This may result in a fall if your child is unable to process these messages when learning to ride a bike. Over-responsivity to various signals can cause an individual to shut down or lash out.  For example, if child is sensitive to touch, he or she may loathe having their hair brushed.  Improvements with sensory integration enhance a child’s overall development, gross/fine motor skills, balance/coordination, language processing, academic performance, and social skills along with an improved self-confidence.

Impaired SI can be seen or viewed as it’s own challenge or in conjunction with a plethora of developmental delays and diagnoses such as Autism, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), Cerebral Palsy (CP), prematurity, and some childhood cancers to name a few.  A recent synthesis of sensory literature indicates there may be a correlation of gifted children showing sensory processing impairment tendencies as well.   

“If the information with the body receives from its somatosensory receptors is not precise, the brain has a poor basis on which to build its body scheme.”

~Ayres, 1972
(Body scheme refers to one’s awareness of their body parts)

History and Significance:

Dr. Jean Ayres, a developmental psychologist and occupational therapist formulated sensory integration theory during her years of work at the University of Southern California, from the mid 50’s to the late 80’s.  She ascribed neuroscience principles to highlight deficits in one’s nervous system.  Dr. Ayres understood the significance of functioning sensory systems as contributory to one’s fine and gross motor development, ability to process language, read and write through the integration of both sides of the brain as well as to their behavioral, social and academic success.  

Please feel free to call or email Sensory Jim & Friends if you are having concerns with your child’s sensory and/or motor development (see Developmental Red Flags). We can help ameliorate some of these challenges early on.