124 Hall Street
Suite H
Concord, NH 03301

Phone: 603.228.9160
Fax: 603.224.2776
 
 

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Sensory Based Therapy

Sensory Integration Therapy

All of the information we receive about the world comes to us through our sensory systems. Many sensory processes take place within the nervous system at an unconscious level, therefore we are not usually aware of them. Although we are all familiar with the senses involved in taste, smell, sight and sound, most of us do not realize that our nervous system also senses touch, movement, force of gravity, and body position. Just as our eyes detect visual information and relay it on to the brain for interpretation, all sensory systems have receptors that pick up information to be perceived by the brain. Cells within the skin send information about light touch, pain, temperature, and pressure. Structures within the inner ear detect movement and changes in the position of the head. Components of muscles, joints, and tendons provide awareness of body position.

There are seven senses that form the foundation of sensory integration, they are: visual, auditory, touch, smell, taste, vestibular (pull of gravity) and proprioception (body awareness and movement). These senses give us information about both our external environment and our internal environment. Our brain uses this information to form a composite picture of who we are physically, where we are, and what is going on around us. Sensory integration is the critical function of the brain that is responsible for producing this composite picture. Sensory integration is the foundation that allows for complex learning and behavior.

The Sense of Touch is critical in helping us to function in daily life. It makes it possible to locate a flashlight in a drawer when the lights have gone out. Tactile sensation also plays an important role in protection from danger.

The Sense of Movement is registered and coordinated through the vestibular sense. It coordinates the movement of one’s eyes, head, and body. It helps maintain muscle
tone, coordinating the two sides of the body & holding the head upright against gravity. Children who have difficulty with sense of movement often have general anxiety issues.

The Sense of Body Position is registered through the sense of proprioception, which is closely related to the vestibular sense. It is proprioception that makes it possible for a person to skillfully guide his arm or leg movements without having to observe every action. In therapy, your child will be guided through activities that challenge his or her ability to respond appropriately to sensory input by making a successful, organized response. Activities will provide vestibular, proprioceptive and tactile stimulation and are designed to meet your child’s developmental needs. Emphasis is placed on automatic sensory processes in the course of a goal-directed activity, rather than instructing or drilling the child on how to respond. Home programs are individually designed for each child for the family to assist with progress.

When this approach is successful, your child will automatically process complex sensory information in a more effective manner than previously. Very often, parents report that their child seems to be better put together, more self-assured and better organized.

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