Sensory Processing

Who requires Sensory Processing Support?

As described by Jean Ayres, “sensory integration is the organization of sensations for use. The brain takes in sensory information which it then locates, sorts and orders. When sensations flow in a well-organized or integrated manner, the brain can use those sensations to form perceptions, behaviours, and learning. When the flow of sensations is disorganized, life can be like a rush hour traffic jam. “

Challenges with sensory integration or processing present in many ways. Just to name a few we may see; poor play skills, avoiding play, missing details, dislike of certain sounds, excessive pickiness with food or clothing, excessive movement or activity, poor self-regulation, poor gross or fine motor skills or that kid who just doesn’t seem to “fit in”.

What may treatment include?  

Sensory integration therapy focuses on providing the child with the opportunity to engage with their environment, use the whole body, all the senses and the entire brain. When a child and therapist are successfully engaged in sensory integration therapy, and the child is organizing their nervous system, it looks as though the child is merely playing. However to the parent who know the child well “merely playing” is not a simple task at all.

OT sessions with a sensory processing focus typically include sensory equipment such as swings, balance boards, yoga balls, weighted objects and more. Children are encouraged to engage their body with “Just Right Challenges” which allow them to organize information detected by their sensory system, give meaning to what is experienced, and allow the child to act or respond in a purposeful manner. This may look like a child reaching for a toy while balancing on the swing, or controlling their body as they roll over and walk out on a yoga ball.  Our OTs combine other treatments with treatment based in a sensory integration framework, to make sure your child is making practical gains every week.

Why OT? 

The study of Sensory Integration Theory was developed by Dr. Jean Ayres, an Occupational Therapist working in California, in the 1950’s. Since that time OTs have been the leaders in understanding, researching and treating sensory processing dysfunctions.

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