sensory integration

Understanding Sensory Integration

Understanding Sensory Integration

This blog is on understanding sensory integration.

Sensory Integration : (Anita Bundy et al)

Jean Ayres, an Occupational Therapist was the first researcher. Further, she said sensory integration (SI) as the neurological process that organizes sensations from one’s own body and from the environment. It makes it possible to use the body effectively within the environment.

Sensory Integration theory explains behaviors. Further, their cause. It also suggests intervention to reduce the ‘inappropriate’ behavior.

What are sensations?

We are all aware of the 5 senses of touch( tactile), smell, hearing( auditory), vision ( visual), and taste. Other sensations like vestibular sensations (helps us maintain our balance and equilibrium). Further, proprioception (sensations from muscles and joints.)

Why are sensations important?

This information is important to know why a child feels lost in space. Further, is unable to use his hands to eat without being messy. Additionally, navigate in space without tripping over.

It also explains why kids dread sitting on swings, giant wheels. Why do some crave continuous spinning? It also explains why copying from the board becomes so difficult. Further, why a child finds it difficult to sit at a place.

For the underlying sensory issue, a dynamic approach is used. This is to provide the necessary sensory inputs. This intervention appears like play. It also uses the participation of the child.

Sensory Strategies for Better Attending at  Task:

Top 5 Tips:

1) Allow the child to have multiple activity breaks. Let him run or walk around ( say every 10 mins) and then continue the sit-down activity. You can ask the child to bounce on the ball or jump on the trampoline.
2) A weighted jacket helps keep the child ‘grounded’. Helps him organize himself better. This can also be done with the use of a slightly heavy backpack. You can also ask the child to push the wall 10 times. Do a ‘ pull and push’ game with the child.
3) Let the child have clay to squeeze or smiley balls to squeeze. Pull thera bands when he/ she gets restless.
4) Don’t use chocolates as reinforcers.
5) Use of air chairs (slightly squishy) helps. Also, a small therapy ball to sit in might help.

Extra Tips:

6)  A corner seat for the child will help the child.
7) If any child shows drooling. It is best to avoid giving him sweets/ biscuits/chocolates before class.
8) If the child shows a late response or if auditory processing is there. Please wait for some duration ( 7-10 seconds) before giving the next command.
9) If the child becomes drowsy or starts yawning. It is a sign of too much content and a form of the mental shutdown.
10) If possible, try starting a sit-down activity after a bit of physical activity. Like wheelbarrow walks, pull and push, jumping on the trampoline, bouncing.
11) While writing/drawing/coloring use thick pencils, thick crayons, or use grippers.

Please leave us a reply. Hope you found the Understanding Sensory Integration article useful.

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Amruta Tamboli
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