Sensory Integration is a specialty approach developed by and utilized in occupational therapy and is based on the way our brains organize sensory information and respond to sensory stimulation, impacting behaviors, and overall functional skills. Sensory Integration, as stated by Dr. Jean Ayres, who developed this approach, is "the process by which people register, modulate, and discriminates sensations received through the sensory systems to produce purposeful, adaptive behaviors in response to the environment" (Ayres, 1976/2005).
Difficulty in perceiving and organizing sensory Information received through touch, movement, taste, vision, smell, and sound, hinder the development of fine and gross motor coordination, verbal communication, cognitive skills, social skills, self-care skills, and self-esteem.
Goals of Sensory Integration:
Improve sensory-perceptual abilities
Develop fine and gross motor skills and motor planning
Facilitate cognitive skills to register, screen out irrelevant sensory stimuli, focus on the task at hand, attend and learn
Develop increased efficiency in sensory processing to perceive sensory input more accurately and trigger adaptive responses in self-care skills, social skills, and learning skills
Provide sensory strategies to caregivers such as parents and teachers, to empower the child to generate and maintain behavior organization through his daily life. At home, school, and the community
Facilitate play skill development through development in sensory registration skills, ideation skills, motor planning (praxis), and cognitive skills.
Facilitate oral motor skills with emphasis on extra and intraoral hypersensitivity, food textures, flavors, temperature tolerance, self-feeding, and drinking skill"