What is Sensory Integration really?
Although the term Sensory Integration has begun to be better understood in recent years, society still has a way to go in understanding Sensory Processing difficulties.
Sensory Integration is a neurological process that allows an individual to use their body effectively in their environment. In order to do this the brain has to receive, interpret, understand and respond to sensation.
We’re all familiar with the 5 senses sight, sound, touch, taste and smell but what is less commonly understood is there are also 2 lesser known systems; the movement (vestibular) system and the proprioceptive system, or the sensation of joint and muscle stretch and pressure.
Children with Sensory Integration difficulties can have an over or under responsiveness to any of these sensations. This leads to sensory sensitivities or sensory seeking behaviors.
What we dont always realize is how much of an impact these sensitivities or seeking behaviors can have on a child in a given day. Imagine trying to concentrate in a classroom where the lights seem too bright, your socks feel too tight, your T-shirt is itchy and everyone around you is making far too much noise? On the other hand imagine trying to concentrate when your body itches with the need to move, fidget or touch the lovely soft hair of the child sitting next to you?
Children inherently have the need and desire to play, listen, focus and perform. In a child with Sensory Processing difficulties the brains’ need to either seek or avoid sensation makes this so much more challenging. Although the lines between behavior and sensory processing difficulties will always be blurred, Sensory Integrative Dysfunction so often results in behavioral difficulties purely because focusing or adhering to social norms just requires so much more effort.
~Sensory Integration is more than just a touch and sound sensitivity~
Not all children’s Sensory Processing difficulties manifest as sensitivities or seeking behaviors. An effective and efficient learner needs to be able to take in and process the sensations in their environment in order to plan and organize their responses and behaviours. In some children, it is the decreased ability to process and understand these fundamental sensations that results in difficulties producing appropriate actions and responses.
At sensoryTIME because we have both years of experience in the Sensory Integration field and a passion for working with these kinds of children, we feel so strongly that children with Sensory needs need a little more help in the classroom, playground, shopping malls and homes. Adding a move ‘n sit cushion to a child’s classroom chair, allowing a quick movement break on a swing or adding in a ball to bounce on during dinner time can make a world of difference to a child who wants to perform just as much as his peers. As Occupational Therapists we see the incredible benefits of treating children both in the therapy setting and ensuring that each child has the opportunity to better process their world outside of the therapy setting.
We hope to make this journey easier for each family
Meet our team
Nadia is a wife, mother and pediatric Occupational Therapist with a specialisation and passion for sensory integrative dysfunction and dyspraxia.
Nannette is a wife, mother of three children, and pediatric Occupational Therapist specializing in sensory integration and dyspraxia.