Strategies for Challenging Behaviors
Sensory Integration is a neurological process that organizes sensation from one’s own body and the environment. Sensory integration makes it possible to use the body effectively within the environment. Children with autism are believed to have difficulties integrating sensory information.
Sensory experiences include touch, movement, body awareness, sight, sound, smell, taste, and the pull of gravity. Distinguishing between these is the process of Sensory Integration (SI) . While the process of sensory integration occurs automatically and without effort for most, for some the process is inefficient. Extensive effort and attention are required in these individuals for sensory integration to occur, without a guarantee of it being accomplished. When this happens, goals are not easily completed, resulting in sensory integration disorder (SID) / sensory processing disorder (SPD) .
The normal process of sensory integration begins before birth and continues throughout life, with the majority of sensory development occurring before the early teenage years. For most children sensory integration develops in the course of ordinary childhood activities. But for some children, sensory integration does not develop as efficiently as it should. When the process is disordered, a number of problems in learning, motor skills and behavior may be evident. The ability for sensory integration to become more refined and effective coincides with the development process as it determines how well motor and speech skills, and emotional stability develop.
Those who have sensory integration dysfunction may be unable to respond to certain sensory information by planning and organizing what needs to be done in an appropriate and automatic manner. This may cause a primitive survival technique called ” fright, flight, and fight ” or withdrawal response, which originates from the “primitive” brain. This response often appears extreme and inappropriate for the particular situation.
By providing Sensory Integration services, we are able to supply vital sensory input and experiences that children with sensory processing issues need to grow and learn. The sensory integrative approach is guided by one important aspect: the child’s motivation in selection of the activities. By allowing them to be actively involved, and explore activities that provide sensory experiences most beneficial to them, children become more mature and efficient at organizing sensory information.