Sensory Integration & Sensory Processing

What is Sensory Integration?

Sensory Integration is a treatment method used by occupational therapists to help individuals learn to appropriately organize and recognize their senses. Sensory experiences allow individuals to navigate their world through sight, sound, taste, smell, touch, movement, and organizing where their body is in space.  When a child has sensory processing challenges they may struggle to self-regulate themselves with one or more of their senses. 

What are the "Red Flags" for Sensory Challenges or Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)?

  • Very busy, always on the go, and has a very short attention to task
  • Appears to be frequently tired and lethargic
  • A picky eater caused by oral or tactile oversensitivity
  • Not aware of when they get hurt (no crying, startle, or reaction to injury)
  • Afraid of swinging/movement activities; does not like to be picked up or be upside down
  • Clumsy or poor coordination
  • Has a hard time calming themselves down appropriately
  • Appearing to be constantly moving around, even while sitting
  • Constantly touching everything they see, including other children
  • Low Muscle Tone
  • Overly upset with change in routine
  • Hates bath time or grooming activities such as; tooth brushing, hair brushing, haircuts, having nails cut, etc.
  • Aversive to messy play activities 
  • Other Behaviors:

1) Difficulty attending to tasks
2) Problems with self-regulation/Behavior
3) Poor self-coping skills
4) Difficulty sleeping
5) Poor Coordination

Occupational Therapy and Sensory Integration

Sensory Diets Custom for the Child’s Needs

Sample Alerting Ideas

  1. Exercise such as riding a bike
  2. Fast Swinging
  3. Chewing Crunchy Snack
  4. Playing with ice and cold water

Sample Calming Strategy Ideas

  1. Heavy work (animal walks, wall push-ups, carrying heavy objects, etc.)
  2. Essential Oils
  3. Linear Swinging or Rocking Chairs
  4. Drinking thick drink through a straw