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Sensory Integration

“The neurological process that organizes sensation from one's own body and from the environment and makes it possible to use the body effectively with the environment.” (Ayres 1972)

Sensory Integration (SI), as originated by A. Jean Ayres, an occupational therapist, psychologist, and neuroscientist, is a theory and practice that targets a person’s ability to process and internally integrate sensory information from their body and environment.  Over time, SI has gained scientific validation and has been transitioned from theory to evidence-based practice for use with children with autism and applications have been broadly applied with individuals with a variety of disabilities and age groups, including children with learning and behavior differences.

In essence, sensory integration theory underscores how our senses collaborate to shape our perception, behavior, and ability to navigate the world. It’s a symphony of neural activity, orchestrated by our remarkable brains.  ASI intervention is where science meets play, where neurons dance, and where adaptive responses bloom. 

Key Components of SI Theory and Intervention:

Types of Sensory Information:

  • Tactile: Information related to touch and pressure on the skin.

  • Visual: Information received through our eyes, allowing us to perceive the world around us.

  • Auditory: Pertains to sound and hearing.

  • Gustatory: Relates to taste and flavors.

  • Olfactory: Involves our sense of smell.

  • Proprioceptive: Concerns our awareness of body position and movement.

  • Vestibular: Refers to balance and spatial orientation.

  • Interoceptive: Relates to internal sensations such as hunger, thirst, and pain.

Processing in the Brain:

All this sensory information converges in our brain, where it is meticulously organized and interpreted.  Neurons fire, neural pathways light up, and our brain weaves together a rich tapestry of sensory experiences.

Adaptive Responses:

Armed with this sensory input, our brain formulates an adaptive response.  This response is tailored to the specific demands of our environment. For instance: If we touch a hot stove (tactile input), our brain signals us to withdraw our hand (adaptive response). When we hear a loud noise (auditory input), our startle reflex kicks in (adaptive response).  Whether it’s buttoning a shirt, crossing the street, tying shoelaces, catching a ball, sitting still during a lesson, or staying focused in class, ASI® fine-tunes our responses.

Individually Tailored Activities:

ASI® crafts activities that precisely match an individual’s existing sensory processing and motor patterns for the “just right” challenge.  By engaging with these activities, individuals learn to navigate their sensory world more effectively.

Encouraging Movement and Organization:

ASI® encourages movement and self-organization in time and space.

Therapists and Clinical Settings with Specialized Equipment

OTs create a safe space where growth happens.  Classic intervention provides tactile, visual, proprioceptive, and vestibular opportunities in a structured manner in collaboration with primary caregivers.  ASI® employs purposeful and playful activities that don’t feel like work.

Get Started Today

Learn more about how I can help your child through personalized therapy rooted in Ayres Sensory Integration and the SOS Approach to Feeding.

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