Sensory integration is the organization of sensations for use. It is an unconscious process of the brain. Our senses give us information about the physical conditions of our bodies and the environment around us.The brain must sift through all sensory input and organize input in meaningful ways. Through sensory integration we are able to give meaning to what is experienced. Sensory integration “puts it all together.” (Ayers, 2005)
If the brain does a poor job of integrating sensations, this will interfere with many things in life. Without good sensory integration, it is hard to learn how to tie shoelaces, hold a pair of scissors, not break a pencil, change from one task to another, etc. In the classroom, a child may be distracted by all the extraneous sounds, lights, and confusion of many people doing different things. (Ayers, 2005)
The central idea of sensory integration therapy is to provide and control sensory input in such a way that the child spontaneously forms the adaptive responses that integrate these sensations. Making this idea work with a child who has a sensory integrative disorder requires a skilled therapist and a room with a lot of simple yet specialized equipment. Here at Springboard Pediatric Therapy, we have many sensory gyms and therapeutic spaces with a variety of equipment to meet each client’s needs. When the therapist is doing their job effectively and the child is organizing their nervous system, it looks as if the child is merely playing. (Ayers, 2005)
SI therapy has many positive outcomes including, improved confidence, increased competency with age-appropriate skills, an increased willingness to try new activities, improved problem-solving skills, and frustration tolerance.
Our OT staff are trained in Sensory Integration Treatment (Ayres Sensory Integration, STAR Institute), but we combine SI with other “best-practice” approaches. Our approach is practical and results-driven and is always based on your priorities. We measure changes from before treatment to after treatment in each client.