Sensory Integration (SI) is an approach used by Occupational Therapists. It is informed by neuroscience, that is how the brain processes sensory information. This isn't just the 5 senses we all know about, it includes:
- Proprioception - the sense of parts of the body when moving
- Vision - all the input perceived by eyes including light/dark
- Auditory - the sense of hearing
- Tactile - not just touch but also the feeling of temperature and pain
- Olfactory - sense of smell
- Vestibular - balance
- Interoception - feelings inside the body, like feeling full after a big meal
According to SI research, people with Sensory Processing disorder have difficulties with one or several of these sensory areas, such as being unable to cope with a normal level of noise (auditory), finding some clothes really itchy or uncomfortable (tactile) or refusing to go in a car because the movement makes them feel sick (proprioception). Sensory processing difficulties are often seen in children with Autism, ADHD, and Learning Disabilities.
A trained Occupational Therapist will complete a full assessment of your needs and preferences and look at what you find difficult as a result of the sensory processing difficulties. They will then use a range of materials to help you get used to new sensations.