“Sensory Integration is the organization of sensation by the brain for use in everyday life” -Jean Ayres, PhD, OTR 1970’s
Occupational and speech therapists at CFC use sensory integration theory as one way of understanding the many developmental, learning and emotional issues that arise during childhood. This means that therapists at CFC work on normalizing children’s reactions to every day sights, sounds, odors, touch, and movement experiences, help children to become better aware of their body in space, and increase their abilities to manage/regulate their body and their emotions. Inefficiencies in sensory integration can affect academic learning, social relationships, self-reliance with activities of daily living and quality of life.
Sensory Integration evaluation includes looking at a child’s sensory processing abilities as they relate to discrimination of sensory information, sensory modulation and sensory-motor skills. These processes help to identify and clarify a child’s sensory preferences, learning style, and self-regulation abilities.
CFC therapists often develop an individualized “sensory diet” for each child which could include a variety of motor activities (swinging, bouncing, dancing, yoga, etc…), tactile activities (messy activities, shaving cream, cooking, gardening, etc…), self-regulation activities (yoga exercises, deep breathing, “Brain Gym” exercises, etc…) and general sensory activities (music, sports, gymnastics, etc…) designed to increase alertness and arousal level and prepare the nervous system for learning, emotional regulation and managing behavior.