What is sensory integration?
As living beings we learn about and experience the world around through our senses. While we generally teach children about five senses - taste, touch, smell, sight and hearing - there are actually additional senses that are very important to our ability to function in the world. Some senses tell us the position of our bodies and other senses help us keep our balance or remain upright against the pull of gravity. The sensory systems are the gateways of information to and from the brain and body. Some people notice that they cannot hear as well if they cannot see the source of sound clearly. In other situations, seeing something move, such as a train, can make you feel like you are moving as well. The brain must make sense of the varied sensory information from the body and the environment so that we can pay attention, learn, plan and be organized. This is the process of sensory integration.
How is sensory integration applied?
Pediatric Therapy Network's therapists use sensory integration approaches when providing intervention so as to address the underlying sensory and motor foundation that help a child learn new skills more easily. Our approach is very individualized to the child's interests and therapeutic needs. For example, a child with handwriting difficulties might have a session with a therapist that focus on lots of climbing to develop whole-body motor planning foundations needed to master the formation of individual letters and numbers. Pediatric Therapy Network also embraces a family centered approach ensuring that the child's family is actively involved with a constant stream of communication between parent and therapist. When parents and therapists work together, they both gain new insights that lead to a better understanding of the child, as well as more effective intervention.
Adapted from "Sensory Integration Answers for Parents"
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