What is Sensory Integration Therapy? (Part I)

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Sensory integration is reported to be developed in the 60’s and 70’s by an OT, A. Jean Ayres, and is designed to help children with sensory processing problems.

Sensory integration therapy is a face-to-face therapy or treatment provided by therapists.  Sensory Integration provides a crucial foundation for complex learning and behaviours, later through life. The process in which the brain organizes and interprets information is called sensory integration. Sensory input comes from multiple sensory experiences including touch, movement, body awareness, sight, smell and taste.

Sensory integration is designed to help children with sensory processing problems cope with the difficulties they have identifying, organizing and interpreting the sensory inputs. Sensory integration uses many different therapies such as deep pressure, brushing, weighted vests, and many more. Therapy sessions are mostly play orientated. The introduction of these therapies appear to be able to assist in calming an anxious child. Additionally, sensory integration therapy is believed to increase a child’s threshold for tolerating sensory-rich environments, make new experiences less disturbing and assist in reinforcing positive behaviours.

Although there are many scientific studies that demonstrate the positives of sensory integration, therapy does not always work for every child and its effectiveness is based on personal experience. For further information speak with your child’s pediatrician or Occupational Therapist as there are other methods for assisting with sensory input.

For further information regarding sensory input, please stay tuned for next week’s newsletter.

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