What is Sensory Integration?

The sensory integration theory and intervention methods researched and developed by A. Jean Ayres, PhD, OTR/L, provide a neuroscience-based approach to addressing sensory integration concerns. Sensory integration is the ability to take in sensory information from the world around us and interpret this information effectively so that we may function optimally throughout the day. While we generally learn 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. Sensory processing disorder (SPD) occurs when the nervous system has difficulty regulating, processing, and interpreting information from one or more of the senses. This may affect one’s ability to function optimally in all environments, and these difficulties can adversely affect a child’s social skills, attention and focus, academic performance, and motor development.

K.I.D.S. Therapy Associates' occupational 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. K.I.D.S. Therapy Associates' mission is to provide a family centered approach ensuring that the child's family is actively involved with ongoing communication between parent and therapist.

 Signs of a Sensory Issue:

  • Overly sensitive or under reactive to touch, movement, sights, or sounds

  • Unusually high or low activity level

  • Easily distracted; poor attention to tasks

  • Delays in speech, motor skills, or academic achievement

  • Coordination problems; appears clumsy or awkward

  • Poor body awareness

  • Difficulty learning new tasks or figuring out how to play with unfamiliar toys

  • Difficulty with tasks that require using both hands at the same time

  • Appears to be disorganized most of the time

  • Difficulty with transitions between activities or environments

  • Immature social skills

  • Impulsivity or lack of self-control

  • Difficulty calming self once “wound up”