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SENSORY INTEGRATION

Two of the new facilities within the Therapeutic Centre focus specifically on sensory integration: Sensory Studio, Movement Development and Play Centre, in addition to our Sensory Hydrotherapy Pool.

 

However, so important is sensory integration to our children’s development, all of our facilities are designed with sensory integration in mind.


As our population of children grows and changes, we are noticing that more and more pupils are showing signs of sensory disorders. These can impact significantly on every part of a child’s development and well-being.

 

The tactile, vestibular and proprioceptive senses develop in utero and begin to function very early in life, even before the visual and auditory systems. These basic senses work together in an integrated and automatic way. This happens most importantly in the first 8 years of life when a child senses countless bits of sensory information that gives meaning in the brain.


Integration is the name given to the process where the brain gives meaning to sensation and which means the brain is better placed to decide what a person must do next given the sensory information.


For some children Sensory Integration does not occur as it should. Dysfunction in Sensory Integration (SI) happens when the brain cannot sort out, filter, analyse, organise and connect (or integrate) sensory messages. Dysfunction does not mean the brain is damaged but that information from the senses is not flowing and integrating efficiently.


This dysfunction results in the child being unable to respond to sensory information in order to behave in a meaningful, consistent way. They may also have difficulty planning and organising what they have to do and as a result may find learning difficult. A child with dysfunction in SI does not feel secure or safe nor do they experience the fun that other children do. Sensory Processing Disorder can influence self-regulation, movement, learning and interaction with others.(Allen and Smith 2011)
SI Dysfunction is a condition that is often associated with other developmental disorders such as:
▶Autistic Spectrum Disorder
▶Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
▶Specific Learning Difficulties
▶Developmental Disabilities
▶Developmental Co-ordination Disorder (Dyspraxia)


We employ qualified Sensory Occupational Therapists through Treetops Occupational Therapy. Their expertise and experience has already shown us what a difference it can make to a child when they have access to planned and controlled sensory input. Therapeutic activities organised in a targeted and fun way help the child to develop core developmental skills and adaptive responses in order to improve their skills in every aspect of their functioning, from school to home life.