Sensory integration refers to the combined use
of all the senses to make an appropriate response. The theory of sensory
integration has seven senses at its core: vision, hearing, smell,
taste, touch, vestibular(movement), and proprioception (our awareness
of our body and its parts to each other). It is thought that if any
one of these senses are not appropriately developed they can not be
integrated together for age appropriate development. If the basic
senses are well developed they can then be used together effectively
for development of posture, motor planning and body awareness. These
then, in turn, can be integrated for eye hand coordination, language,
visual spatial perception, and attention. Ultimately, all of these
skills will integrate for overall age appropriate academic and behavioral
development. Occupational therapists who focus on sensory integration
skills will look at a child’s abilities within each of the aforementioned
categories and decide where the child’s abilities are breaking
down. It is here that the therapist will focus therapy intervention.
Children who have sensory integration deficits typically present with
an over or under sensitivity to sight, sound, taste, smell or movement.
They may appear awkward, impulsive and/or have difficulty changing
from one activity to another. As you browse through this website you
will find many toys that will help with under and over sensitivities
of each of the senses.