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Sensory Integration

Our nervous system constantly receives sensory input from our environment as well as our own body through various channels such as touch, vision, taste, smell, auditory, position, and movement senses. Sensory integration means making optimal use of sensory information so that we can relate to the world around us and function appropriately. For example, avoiding an obstacle while walking and talking, catching a ball, writing in a straight  line, are all common tasks when information from multi sensory channels needs to be put together and used, along with the necessary muscles in order to execute these functions.  Not only the sensory system works in tandem with our motor (muscular) system; but there is also a constant feedback between the motor and sensory apparatuses.   Thus both, the sensory and motor systems influence the development of each other through the entire developmental progression of a child. Our ability to integrate all the sensory information contributes to many components of survival such as alertness, attention, cognition, movement planning, emotional regulation, and social skills. Sensory integration opens the way to learning and is an integral part of human functioning.

Unfortunately, the sensory system may malfunction for some children and result in learning difficulties, perceptual developmental disorder, autism spectrum disorder, and coordination difficulties. The sensory system can also be damaged along with motor deficits in neurological insults such as stroke and Parkinson disease. Sensory integration is used as a treatment by physiotherapists and occupational therapists to treat sensory dysfunction in order to increase the learning potential in children.

Dr. Ushma is a certified therapist in Sensory Integration. She has worked with children in the United States since 1989. Experience matters!