Sensory integration refers to the process by which the
brain interprets and organizes various sensory experiences including
sight, sound, smell, touch, movement, body awareness, and the pull
of gravity. Sensory integration usually occurs automatically and
provides a foundation for more complex learning and behavior. For
some people sensory integration does not develop as efficiently
as it should. When this happens, problems in learning, development
and behavior may become evident.
in sensory processing can result in sensory defensiveness (sensory
seeking or sensory avoiding behaviors), problems in self-regulation
(activity levels too high or too low, not matched for the task at
hand), and difficulties with praxis (the ability to conceive, organize
and execute skills). This can interfere with self-care skills, language
skills, motor skills, academic skills, and social/emotional skills.
a child is suspected of having a sensory integrative disorder, an
evaluation is in order. If intervention is recommended, it can be
intensive (more than once a week), weekly, or consultative (more
infrequently relying on a home program between sessions).
Children who demonstrate several of these behaviors may
be appropriate for evaluation:
- Difficulty with gross or fine motor skills.
- Clumsy, trips and falls easily.
- Delayed sitting, crawling, or walking.
- Poor balance.
- Walks on toes with slightly unusual posture.
- Over sensitivity to touch, sound, sights, movement, or
- Under reaction to touch, sound, sights, movement, or
- Unusually high or low activity level.
- Unable to calm self.
- Impulsive, lack of self-control.
- Difficulty with social interactions.