Sensory integration is one of the evidence-based practice approaches used daily by therapists at Eyas Landing. We are traditionally taught about five senses. In addition to taste, touch, sight, hearing, and smell, we have vestibular and proprioceptive senses. Jean Ayres, founder of this theory, describes sensory integration as how a person organizes sensation in the brain for use in daily activities and occupations (1972). To optimize treatment outcomes, sensory integration treatment is individualized based on the child and family needs. The goal is for the child to use sensory information and to be an active participant in sensory integrative therapy.
Sensory Integration Language
When incorporating sensory integration into the treatment approach, a therapist might use words or phrases that you are unfamiliar with. Some of the essentials in understanding sensory integration are:
• Vestibular System
• The vestibular system provides information about head position and whether or not an individual is moving.
• Proprioceptive System
• The proprioceptive system provides information about body position in relation to an individual’s environment.
• Adaptive Response
• A child’s change in reaction due to a challenge in the environment.
Sensory integration difficulties are more common than most people think. Several research studies occurring between 1991 and 2009 found approximately 15% of individuals have difficulty with sensory integration. This means for every 20 children there are 3 children that have difficulties processing and integrating sensory-based information.
By Dr. Baily Z, OTD, OTR/L
Specific Research Studies
1. Wilbarger & Wilbarger (1991)
2. Ahn et al. (2004)
3. Ben-Sasson et al. (2009)
4. Reynolds et al. (2008)