Sensory Integration

                            
Sensory integration is a normal, neurological, developmental
process which  begins in the womb and continues throughout one’s
life. Although, it is important to note, the most influential
developmental time is in the first seven years of life. Sensory
processing is the process by which our brain takes in sensory input
and interprets this information for use.
When talking about typical sensory processing, a productive,
normal and “adaptive response” happens as;
• Our neurological system takes in sensory information
•  the brain organizes and makes sense of it
•  which then enables us to use it and act accordingly within our     
environment to achieve “increasingly complex, goal-directed
actions”.

It is this “adaptive response” which facilitates normal development.
We, therefore use our sensory processing abilities for:
•  social interaction
•  motor skill development
•  focusing and attending so we can learn

If this neurological process becomes disrupted somewhere in the
loop of intake, organization or output, then normal development and
adaptive responses will not be achieved.
Learning, physical and emotional development, as well as behavior
will therefore be impacted; sometimes severely.

It is this disruption which yields a neurological dysfunction called
Sensory Integration Dysfunction/Sensory Processing Disorder.

Keep in mind, sensory processing functions on a continuum.
Please understand that we all have difficulty processing certain
sensory stimuli (a certain touch, smell, taste, sound, movement
etc.) and we all have sensory preferences.
It only becomes a sensory processing disorder when we are on
extreme ends of the continuum or experience “disruptive,
unpredictable fluctuations which significantly impact our
developmental skills or everyday functioning”.

That being said, it is important for us to break the sensory
integration dysfunction symptoms down into categories based on
each of the senses.
These categories are:
•  TACTILE: the sense of touch; input from the skin receptors about
touch, pressure, temperature, pain and movement of the hairs on
the skin.
•  VESTIBULAR: the sense of movement; input from the inner ear
about equilibrium, gravitational changes, movement experiences
and position in space.


• AUDITORY: input relating to sounds; one's ability to correctly
perceive, discriminate, process and respond to sounds
• ORAL: input relating to the mouth; one's ability to correctly
perceive, discriminate, process and respond to input within the
mouth
• OLFACTORY: input relating to smell; one's ability to correctly
perceive, discriminate, process and respond to different odors.
• VISUAL: input relating to sight; one's ability to correctly perceive,
discriminate, process and respond to what one sees.


are affected and the FREQUENCY, DURATION, and INTENSITY of
are affected and the FREQUENCY, DURATION, and INTENSITY of
these sensory integration dysfunction symptoms.
these sensory integration dysfunction symptoms.


We all have some types of sensory preferences and perhaps even
a mild case of "dysfunction". HOWEVER, IT IS THE FREQUENCY,
INTENSITY, DURATION AND FUNCTIONAL IMPACT OF THESE
SYMPTOMS WHICH DETERMINES DYSFUNCTION.
If you personally know, have a child, or observe a child with a
sensory integration/sensory processing disorder, you WILL
observe particular "behavioral indicators" which will make the
"diagnosis" a plausible, possible, and real consideration or
explanation.
As with any diagnosis, the key is finding the correct one so proper
treatment can begin
A Sensory Processing/Sensory Integration Disorder is CERTAINLY
not the easiest diagnosis for an "untrained eye" to make!
Through no fault of their own, many pediatricians, psychiatrists,
psychologists and other professionals have not been properly
educated on the causes, signs and symptoms of this disorder.
Therefore, they may mistakenly dismiss parental concerns, give
them the wrong advice, or misdiagnose the child. This, in turn, may
cause professionals to put a child on unnecessary medication or
into treatment (or lack of treatment) that will NOT HELP THEM DEAL
WITH THE REAL UNDERLYING ISSUE.
• A SENSORY INTEGRATION DISORDER IS A NEUROLOGICAL
DISORDER; not a spoiled child, a product of bad parenting, ADD,
ADHD, defiant child or a mental illness. Although, it is important to
note, any of these could co-exist with a sensory processing
disorder.
• We are talking about REACTIONS TO SPECIFIC SENSORY INPUT. It
is about HOW this input is TAKEN IN, ORGANIZED, AND UTILILIZED
TO INTERPRET ONE'S ENVIRONMENT AND MAKE THE BODY
READY TO LEARN, MOVE, REGULATE ENERGY LEVELS AND
EMOTIONS, INTERACT, AND DEVELOP PROPERLY.
• WHEN SENSORY INTEGRATION DYSFUNCTION SYMPTOMS
APPEAR, THEY MUST BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY AS EARLY AS
POSSIBLE AND TREATED PROPERLY BY A KNOWLEDGABLE
PROFESSIONAL!