Mary Johns, OTR/L
Pediatric Occupational Therapist
Appear constantly on the go?
Have a poor sense of personal boundaries?
Have difficulty with small motor skills or handwriting?
Have behavioral problems?
Appear easily distracted?
Need directions repeated often?
Appear inflexible or uncooperative with transitions?
Have difficulty in social situations?
Fidget in his/her seat?
Bump into or trip over things frequently?
Talk loudly or shout when speaking to others?
Have difficulty with gross motor skills?
Have difficulty copying from the chalkboard?
Chew on his/her clothing?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you child may benefit from Sensory Integration Therapy that I can provide.
Does Your Child...
What Is Sensory Integration?
Sensory integration refers to how people use the information provided by all the sensations coming from within the body and from the external environment. We usually think of the senses as separate channels of information, but they actually work together to give us a reliable picture of the world and our place in it. Your senses integrate to form a complete understanding of who you are, where you are, and what is happening around you. Because your brain uses information about sights, sounds, textures, smells, tastes, and movement in an organized way, you assign meaning to your sensory experiences, and you know how to respond and behave accordingly. Walking through a shopping mall, if you smell a powerful, sweet scent, you are able to identify it as a candle or essential oil and realize that you're walking past an aromatherapy store. You may linger a moment to enjoy it or hurry by to escape it.
For some children, sensory integration does not develop smoothly. Because they can't rely on their senses to give them an accurate picture of the world, they don't know how to behave in response, and they may have trouble learning and behaving appropriately.
Sensory Integration Therapy
Sensory Integration Therapy utilizes suspended equipment to activate the vestibular and proprioceptive systems during gross motor movement experiences. The environment is organized to facilitate eliciting an ‘adaptive response’, in which the child responds successfully to an environmental demand, while enhancing body awareness, position sense, postural control and bilateral coordination skills.
Sensory Integration Therapy also helps to address sensory modulation and self-regulation issues, for improved participation in semi-structured group activities and in busy, unpredictable environments.
The Vestibular System is our movement sense. Gravity and movement receptors are located in our inner ear and detect changes in head position, respond to acceleration/deceleration and maintain orientation of head/eyes in space allowing you to see clearly while your head is moving.
The vestibular system impacts on balance, muscle tone, bilateral coordination, ocular motor control/visual perception and auditory language processing.
The Tactile System is our sense of touch.The ‘touch’ receptors are located within the boundaries of the skin and serve two functions: Protection and Discrimination.
The Protective function alerts us to danger. The Discriminatory function gives us information about the qualities of different objects, (i.e. soft, hard, rough, smooth, sharp, or dull).
Proprioception is our ‘body position’ sense. These receptors are located in our muscles, joints, and tendons. Input to these receptors tells the brain how muscles and joints are bending, extending, being pulled or compressed. This information enables the brain to know where each body part is and how it is moving.
Dysfunction in proprioception can result in low muscle tone, decreased body awareness/position sense, clumsiness, over reliance on visual cues and difficulties modulating how much force to use (i.e. pressing too hard or soft when writing).
Visual And Auditory Systems
The Visual and Auditory Systems receive visual andauditory information that assist the brain in integrating information from other sensory systems (tactile, vestibular, proprioceptive).
They have their own capacity to process information for functional use, including recognition, recall, discrimination, and making meaning of what is seen or heard.
The Sensory Integration and Praxis Tests (SIPT)
The Sensory Integration and Praxis Tests (SIPT), developed by A. Jean Ayres, PHD, OTR, is a comprehensive, standardized evaluation tool, which measures the sensory integration processes that underlie learning and behavior.
The 17 subtests are designed to assess visual & tactile perception, motor planning, visual motor skills, 2 and 3 dimensional construction, and vestibular processing. The test takes approximately 2.5 hours to administer by a SIPT certified clinician.