Sensory integration is a neurological process that occurs in all of us. We receive sensory information from our bodies and the world around us through sensory organs. Our brains are programmed to organize or integrate this sensory information to make it meaningful to us. This integration allows us to respond automatically, efficiently, and comfortably in response to the specific sensory input we receive.
Our bodies and the environment send our brains information through our senses. We process and organize 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.
Sensory Integration Example –
Picture yourself at a cottage. You are standing on the dock, about to climb into a canoe. You put your foot down into the canoe, and as you begin to step in, the canoe starts to rock. Automatically you adjust your body to keep yourself balanced and slowly sit down, placing yourself in the middle of the seat. This is Sensory Integration.
If you have good sensory integration, processing and organizing this information happens automatically. You do not become overly fearful when the boat moves because you are confident that you can maintain your balance. Unconsciously you make fine adjustments and regain your centre of gravity. You can lower yourself to the seat because you judge the distance and the size of the seat. You also have a good sense of where to sit and how much to move to centre yourself on the seat.
for the child who does not have good sensory integration, climbing into a canoe can be a disaster. Some children can be afraid about the prospect of climbing into a boat because they are uncomfortable with, or hypersensitive to, the feeling of movement. Other children may be overconfident and may not appreciate what can happen when balancing on a moving object.
In recent times, the terms “Sensory Integration” and “Sensory Processing” have sometimes been used interchangeably. We use the term “sensory integration” because Dr. A. Jean Ayres used this term, and what we feel it better reflects what happens in the nervous system when we receive and organize sensory information.
We have many different sensory systems in our body like Tactile, Visual, Auditory, Olfactory, Proprioceptive, and Vestibular. Dysfunction in any of these sensory systems creates a problem in motor response.
For more Information, check these sensory activities.