What is Sensory Integration and Sensory Integration Problems?

"Sensory Integration is the neurological process that organizes sensations from one's own body and from the environment and make it possible to use the body effectively within the environment" - A. Jean Ayres 

Our bodies and the environment send our brains information through our senses. We process and organise this information so that we feel comfortable and secure. We are then able to respond appropriately to particular situations and environmental demands. This is Sensory Integration. 

It is a neurological process that occurs in all of us. We all take in sensory information from our bodies and the world around us. Our brains a programs to organise or "integrate" this sensory information to make it meaningful to us. The process of sensory integration contributes greatly to development.  

Sensory Integration Diagram - Foundation for Functional Participation. Made by OTwithEmily Adapted from Sensory Integration Theory by A. Jean Ayres, Ph.D, OTR and STAR Treatment Model  

If you have good sensory integration it usually happens automatically. You will be able to unconsciously filter out or make adjustment so that you can take in information need, and make adaptive responses to attend or focus on the things we need to be doing.  

Children who have inadequate sensory integration, you might see  

  • Inappropriate or inconsistent responses to sensory stimulation 
  • Decrease ability to respond to sensory information in a meaningful  
  • Difficulty planning and executing purposeful actions  
  • Avoids sensory input 
  • Seeks sensory input 
  • Unsure of body position 
  • Poor motor planning 
  • Poor coordination, inconsistent motor performance, difficulty learning new motor tasks 
  • Easily distracted, limited attending skills 
  • Over-aroused, high activity level, hyper vigilant 
  • Under-aroused, low activity level, self-absorbed, passive  

Professional treatment option for Sensory Integration is Ayres Sensory Integration. Intervention techniques are sensory motor activities usually in a specialised equipped sensory gym. The intervention will help with improving sensory foundations of sensory processing. Promote ability to adaptively respond to the environment and improve ability to engage in daily living activities (occupations). The occupational therapist should be trained and qualified in Sensory Integration.  


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