Sensory Integration

A Sensory Integration Dysfunction is a neurological disorder that results from the brain’s inability to integrate the information received from our body and environment.

Beside the five senses, of touch, smell, taste, sight and hearing, we have a proprioceptive system, which provides us with information about our body awareness and the vestibular system, which gives information where our body is in relation to gravity. These sensory systems must work together to accomplish complex tasks in daily life.

In the early stages of development, the child mainly senses things and then moves his body in relation to these senses; these are the years of sensory‑motor processes. As the child grows, the brain’s development of cognitive and social functions is based on an appropriate foundation of sensory motor processing. When the brain has difficulty integrating sensory messages, inefficient motor development, language, learning and behaviour problems may become evident to the family and professionals. Difficulties with sensory integration can make a child appear clumsy, awkward and easily tired, as well as hyperactive with difficulty concentrating. Other signs may be toe walking, difficulty sitting in a chair or standing still, enjoying falling over or even big dramatic reactions to touch. In addition some of these children may have learning difficulties and speech and language deficits.

The Sensory Integrative approach is rich in vestibular, proprioceptive and tactile stimulation. The therapy is very child directed, creative and joyful.

Each adaptive response from the child, as he/she provides feedback into the nervous system, encourages maturation and organisation of the nervous system. He/she becomes more focused, alert and skilful in their daily activities.

What are the signs for a Sensory Integrative Disorder?

When your child is:

  • Overly sensitive to touch, movements, sights or sounds.
  • Under reactive to sensory stimulation e.g. failing and bumping into things, not recognising danger
  • Oblivious to pain or to body position and may have fine and/or gross motor deficits
  • Having coordination problems and has poor balance, clumsy or stiff
  • Avoiding playground equipment and dislikes climbing or jumping and may have problems riding a bike
  • Very quiet or absent, doesn’t find friends easily
  • Impulsive, distractible, aggressive, has problems to adjust to new situations and has difficulties with organisation
  • Unmotivated or maybe stubborn or troublesome with poor self confidence
  • Having difficulties with attention and jumps from one activity to another
  • Having learning problems with delays in academic achievement or activities of daily living.

We advise caution when searching the web for information on Sensory Processing and Sensory Integration. For more reputable information please ask your therapist.

To get you started here are some articles / websites we recommend:

Frequently Asked Questions About Ayres Sensory Integration
The SPD Foundation Website
The Sensory Integration Network

  • scooter
  • scooter play
  • bolster prone
  • bolster stand

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This is to express my gratitude for Urvi Kamdar’s ability to identify the core reasons for our son’s deep misery when he started school, when other professionals failed to do so. Following her sessions, addressing difficult tasks in a fun way, we soon saw a happy boy again. Among numerous therapists we met, Urvi stands out as being very professional in her assessment and holistic approach, setting up clear goals, explaining issues well and communicating progress. Urvi’s advice and knowledge has also been the backbone in my discussions with the school and I warmly recommend her to any parent in search for the best Occupational Therapist, Sensory integration certified, for assessment and therapy.

Marianne Alberts