The Benefits of Sensory Integration.
Many disabilities can be discussed in terms of senses. Sensory organs (eyes, ears or skin for instance) are peripheral the central nervous system is in the brain. It is in the brain that sensory input is rendered useful.
Your brain is promoting vision to read this, or hearing to listen to it, or failing to demote the feeling of your clothes and causing distraction.
The ability to manage sensory input is known as sensory integration.
Sensory integration therapy aims to develop this ability.
Jean Ayres’ theory behind Sensory Integration therapy is well-documented, and fits in with many other educationalists such as Montessori and Steiner who advocated the importance of movement during play and learning.
Recent discoveries show that the part of the brain which interprets vestibular signals into physical balance is closely positioned and related to the part of the brain responsible for sensory integration. So physical balance and sensory integration are closely linked in the central nervous system.
Any activity which involves movement therefore stimulating the vestibular sense and makes use of the part of the brain responsible for sensory integration. Such stimulation can be applied freely through normal toddler play (tumbling about) or deliberately through therapeutic intervention.
Where play is not sufficient, possible or avoided, therapeutic intervention is beneficial.