Sensory integration therapy
Sensory integration therapy is based on A. Jean Ayres' Sensory Integration Theory.
Ayres' sensory integration is a theory that describes (1) how the neurological process of processing and integrating sensory information from the body and the environment contribute to emotional regulation, learning, behavior, and participation in daily life, (2) empirically derived disorders of sensory integration and (3) an intervention approach. "Sensory integration theory is used to explain why individuals behave in particular ways, plan intervention to ameliorate particular difficulties, and predict how behavior will change as a result of intervention." Sensory integration theory originated from the work of A. Jean Ayres, an occupational therapist and psychologist. Ayres wrote, "Sensory Integration is the organization of sensations for use. Our senses give us information about the physical conditions of our body and the environment around us...The brain must organize all of our sensations if a person is to move and learn and behave in a productive manner".
The neurological process of sensory integration is a "particular way of viewing the neural organization of sensory information for functional behavior". It is studied by different professions on diverse levels, such as by occupational therapists as a foundation for occupational performance and participation, by psychologists on a cellular level as multi-sensory integration.
As a theory, sensory integration is "a dynamic and ecological theory that specifies the critical influence of sensory processing on human development and function". "It contributes to the understanding of how sensation affects learning, social-emotional development, and neurophysiological processes, such as motor performance, attention, and arousal".
As an intervention approach, it is used as "a clinical frame of reference for the assessment and treatment of people who have functional disorders in sensory processing".
People with sensory integrative dysfunction experience problems with their sense of touch, smell, hearing, taste, sight, body coordination, and movement against gravity. Along with this might possibly be difficulties in movement, coordination and sensing where one's body is in a given space. According to proponents of sensory integration therapy, sensory integrative dysfunction is a common disorder for individuals with neurological learning disabilities such as an autism spectrum disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and sensory modulation dysfunction.
Ayres' approach has proliferated among therapy and educational professionals over the past several decades. It has been met with some resistance within the occupational therapy profession and in other disciplines.
- Multisensory integration
- Music therapy
- Occupational science
- Occupational therapy
- Sensory processing
- Sensory overload
- Sensory Processing Disorder Foundation
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