Sensory Integration also known as Sensory Processing, is the process by which each of us receive, make sense of, and respond to the world around us through our senses; sight, taste, smell, hearing, touch, movement, and body function. It is through this integrate process that children learn and adapt as they interact with the world around them. If there is a disruption within the sensory system, it leads to difficulties processing and making sense of the world around them. This can further affect a child’s development and learning, resulting in physical, academic, social and/or emotional difficulties.
Due to the fact that the sensory system is so complex and problems may not always present in physical struggles, children with sensory processing disorders are often missed. They may often just be identified as being clumsy and having difficulty participating in age-appropriate activities.
- Difficulty paying attention or sitting still
- Being unaware of how much force is being applied, resulting in aggressive behaviours
- Excessive jumping or swinging/spinning
- Difficulty copying or learning new movements
- Overly sensitive to movement and feeling insecure when their feet are off the ground ie. getting on a swing
- Difficulty with balance and/or coordination
- Constantly placing objects in mouth or excessive chewing of inedible objects
- Overly sensitive to different textures ie. unable to wear certain clothes
- Picky eating or difficulty eating a variety of foods
- Difficulty identifying and learning shapes or other visual information
- Difficulty copying shapes, letter or numbers
- Difficulty with writing or reading ie. switching letters around
Individuals who have difficulty with taking in and processing sensory information, can benefit from Sensory Integration Intervention, by a trained occupational therapist. This intervention allows thorough assessment to identify where, within the sensory system, the problem lies. This is followed by holistic intervention, to improve the central nervous system processing of sensory stimuli/information, to help your child make sense of and interact with the world around them.