Sensory Integration Disorder & Therapy Explained
Sensory Integration Therapy Room
Sensory Integration Tools
What is Sensory Integration Therapy?
Sensory Integration Therapy
Sensory Integration Therapy and its purpose
Our five senses i.e. sight, touch, smell, taste and hearing are how we manage to interact with the world around us everyday. It is our senses that stimulate us into seeing, hearing, feeling, touching and smelling. In typically developing children this is how they learn and develop. However for many Special Needs children these senses are often totally out of sync.
Children with Sensory Integration problems might often hear the clock ticking as loudly as you talking to them. More often than not you might start to think that your child can’t actually hear you when you call because they have a hearing problem but in actual fact it can often actually be because they are hearing away too much i.e. their ears can’t filter out background noise and they are hearing several different things all at once. Their ears can’t filter out background noise effectively.
These early signs are often the first real indicator that something may be amiss with your young child. Personally my son began covering his ears with his hands or leaving the room when he heard certain high pitched sounds. If a car engine was louder than usual or when I attempted to vacuum a room my son always got very upset.
Also he refused to even try certain foods and now I know that this too is a sensory issue i.e. the consistency of some foods or the messiness of them just totally put him off. Some other Special Needs children cannot stand to be touched as they are hypersensitive to it and any embrace or gesture can often just be too overpowering for them.
It is also quite common to be under sensitive to touch and once again like my son you could he has a strong desire to be constantly hugged and sometimes he is just unaware of how strongly he might grab someone or squeeze them because he cannot judge what the right level of touch actually is. Also he loves to be cocooned between blankets and he is constantly seeking physical stimulation of every kind. He is often in a constant hyperactive state for most of his waking hours.
Common problems caused by a Sensory Processing Disorder
Excerpt taken from article on this topic and the full article can be viewed at www://children.webmd.com/sensory-integration-dysfunction
- Either be in constant motion or fatigue easily or go back and forth between the two.
- Withdraw when touched.
- Refuse to eat certain foods because of how the foods feel when chewed.
- Be oversensitive to odors.
- Be hypersensitive to certain fabrics and only wear clothes that are soft or that they find pleasing.
- Dislike getting his or her hands dirty.
- Be uncomfortable with some movements, such as swinging, sliding, or going down ramps or other inclines. Your young child may have trouble learning to climb, go down stairs, or ride an escalator.
- Have difficulty calming himself or herself after exercise or after becoming upset.
- Jump, swing, and spin excessively.
- Appear clumsy, trip easily, or have poor balance.
- Have odd posture.
- Have difficulty handling small objects such as buttons or snaps.
- Be overly sensitive to sound. Vacuum cleaners, lawn mowers,hairdryers, leaf blowers, or sirens may be upsetting.
- Lack creativity and variety in play. For instance, your child may play with the same toys in the same manner over and over or prefer only to watch TV or videos.
Who is most at risk of having Sensory Integration Dysfunction?
There are many Developmental Conditions and Syndromes that seem to include Sensory Integration issues although this has not been officially recognized yet. The most common being: Autism Spectrum Disorder, Aspergers Syndrome, Fragile X Syndrome, Global Developmental Delay, Auditory Processing Disorder and Sensory Processing Disorder.
What is Sensory Integration Therapy?
Sensory Integration Therapy is all about helping the Sensory challenged child to try to reach a state of calm equilibrium through using strategies and techniques to help balance their out of sync senses.
All Occupational Therapists are now trained in Sensory Integration Therapy as part of their training and should be able to perform Sensory Integration Therapy with your child.
Firstly your child will need to be assessed by an Occupational Therapist who has the necessary training and experience in Sensory Integration Therapy. Then they will normally put together what is known as a Sensory Diet, for your child.
What is a Sensory Diet?
Basically a Sensory diet will pinpoint what your child’s specific Sensory Issues are and whether your child is over or under stimulated by their senses. Then they will specify how much additional input your child should be getting on a daily basis to try and counteract the problem.
Therefore the aim of Sensory Integration Therapy is to help reduce the anxiety caused by the Sensory Integration issues your child may have. It is then hoped that in turn this will help improve your child’s concentration and learning capabilities.
This in turn should lead to less inappropriate behaviour, a decrease in emotional meltdowns and hopefully will also help encourage your child to become more aware and in tune with other people and their surroundings.
Common techniques for Sensory Integration Therapy usually include:
· Skin brushing.
· Deep pressure through things like wearing a weighted vest or getting a weighted blanket.
· The use of Sensory Integration aids such as swings, hammocks, mini trampolines and therapy (gym) balls.
· As many Sensory seeking Special Needs Kids often have a need to be constantly chewing on something Chewy Tubes are a great idea to help protect their teeth, their health and to give them sensory relief.
· It is also pretty easy and it doesn’t have to cost a fortune to create a quite area for your child at home by buying some inexpensive sensory toys that will help you create your own sensory room at home.
Physical activity is also very important for the sensory challenged child. Especially if you have a hyperactive child like my little man then the more physical activity the better as this can also teach him to use his body in many different ways and help him to understand that he is a separate entity to his environment.
Who can benefit from Sensory Integration Therapy?
Not Too Old For Sensory Integration
By Diana A. Henry, MS, OTR
..In 1972, when Dr. A. Jean Ayres first defined the sensory integration (SI) process as “the ability to organize sensory information for use”, her research focused on identifying specific subtypes or patterns of dysfunction among children. (1) Unfortunately, the emphasis placed on the plasticity of the young brain (2) has been incorrectly interpreted by some to mean that individuals older than age 7 can no longer benefit from sensory integrative intervention. As clinicians, we can now turn to a scholarly and newly published textbook, Sensory Integration. Theory and Practice (1991), and find the following:
“Our experience in treating older children and adult clients with sensory integration dysfunction clearly indicates that these individuals have the potential for significant change, and experimental brain research indicates the plasticity persists into adulthood and possibly throughout life. Further there is, as yet, no evidence that younger children with sensory integration disorders benefit more or change faster than do older children or adults who participate in sensory integration treatment programs….”
Therefore no matter what age you may be if you feel you could have Sensory Integration Dysfunction then you really should consider some techniques to improve your Sensory Processing Function. As a mom who was only recently diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome myself I know that many of these techniques have helped me as well as my son over the last year.