What is Sensory Integration

Developmentally, children spend the first eight years of life experiencing and challenging their bodies and their environment. Their minds are alive with information received through their bodies, through movement, touch, taste, vision, smell, and sound. This stage in their development is crucial for development. It lays the foundation with which a child gains skills, self-confidence, and mastery of his/her body and their environment. Children express happiness in themselves and their world when development occurs as expected.

Sensory Integration  is a term that describes the brain’s ability to take in information from the environment and the senses, organize it, and respond to it during experiences of daily life. It is a process that helps mature the brain and develop the physical body.

The senses (sensory systems) lay critical foundations for normal development, impacting gross and fine motor development, speech and language production, social and emotional maturity, as well as behavior and learning.

Challenges with sensory integration can be classified in two main categories:

One group includes children who have difficulty perceiving or understanding the information coming from the senses. These difficulties can affect the child’s arousal level, activity level, behavior, emotions, social participation and attention.

The next group includes children who have difficulty making sense of the input gathered though the senses but this time it interferes with the acquisition or refinement of postural and motor skills. These children often times appear clumsy and/or their motor actions are not as fluid and accurate as those of other children. Difficulties with tolerance to frustration, attention and social participation are typical of these group children.

Sensory integration dysfunction can impact every aspect of development including:

  • Gross and fine motor
  • Adaptive and self-help
  • Speech and language
  • Social-emotional
  • Behavioral
  • Attention and self-regulation
  • Visual motor
  • Visual spatial
  • Perceptual and academic skills

Children with sensory processing difficulties are quick to identify activities which are difficult for them, or those who make them feel uncomfortable. These children usually refuse or avoid trying these tasks again. This might unfold into behavioral, social or emotional manifestations that take a toll in the child’s performance of typical occupations.

If you notice your child avoiding activities which most children enjoy, such as swinging, playing in the sand box, hugging their friends and family, participating in motor or social activities etc. an Occupational Therapy screening may be beneficial.

InterPlay provides the opportunity for your child to reach developmentally, his/her highest possible potential. That child can then face the world with a healthy sense of self.

P.B. a grateful mom!

On my search to help my son I had good experiences and not so good ones. But finding InterPlay has been a blessing in the skies. Dr. Pilar and her team are truly the best professionals in the area. Their charisma and compassion, professionalism, knowledge, integrity and quality of care are what every parent (who is struggling with their child) needs. They didn't only help my beautiful boy but my family as a whole. Their understanding of sensory integration and their playful approach to treatment engaged my son and they were able to get out the best of him. In every session they gave their heart and he gave them his best. It just took a couple months for all of us to see the benefits of the treatment. Today, I am glad to say that our family is at peace with our situation, knowing that hard work (as we are guided by the experts at InterPlay) will lead us to the right path ...

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