Sensory integration is our brain's ability to process sensory information from the various sensory systems into a holistic perception so that we can adapt quickly and automatically and act appropriately.
In 6-15% of all children the process of sensory integration does not work optimally. The causes are not clear, but a hereditary component seems to play a role. The originator of Sensory Integration theory, Dr. Jean Ayres, compared SI disorder to an upset stomach: the structures and substances involved are not properly balanced and do not interact correctly. This disorder does not result in permanent damage, but can be improved through targeted therapy.
In Ayres' SI therapy (ASI®), the child experiences their body's possibilities and limits and gains control over their behavioral organization. The occupational therapist organizes the session in a very playful way and approaches your goals for the intervention through playful and meaningful therapeutic activities that often look like the child is merely playing.
"My therapist helps me to know what I want and how I can achieve it!" Marc, 7 years old
Although many believe that SI therapy is all about sensory stimulation, this is not true. The crucial element in bringing about changes in the brain are successful adaptive responses, that can only occur when the child's brain has processed necessary sensory information well. Every time the child successfully masters a challenge, their brain has processed important information well and stored the experience for similar situations in the future. The sense of achievement gives the child a feeling of competence and self-confidence!
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