problems of the sensory system may include hyperactivity and/or ADD
and ADHD and seizures that may be associated with the diagnosis of autism.
health problems may be related to sensory integration disorders,
including lack of ability to sense balance, space, movement and
anything related to the five senses: vision, hearing, taste,
smell and touch.
Against Ritalin (PAR)
about Sensory Integration Disorder below. Quoted from this site: http://www.healthatoz.com/healthatoz/Atoz/ency/sensory_integration_disorder.jsp
integration disorder or dysfunction (SID) is a neurological
disorder that results from the brain's inability to integrate
certain information received from the body's five basic sensory
systems. These sensory systems are responsible for detecting
sights, sounds, smell, tastes, temperatures, pain, and
the position and movements of the body. The brain then forms a
combined picture of this information in order for the body to
make sense of its surroundings and react to them appropriately.
The ongoing relationship between behavior and brain functioning
is called sensory integration (SI), a theory that was first
pioneered by A. Jean Ayres, Ph.D., OTR in the 1960s.
Sensory experiences include touch,
movement, body awareness, sight, sound, smell, taste, and the
pull of gravity. Distinguishing between these is the process of
sensory integration (SI). While the process of SI occurs
automatically and without effort for most, for some the process
is inefficient. Extensive effort and attention are required in
these individuals for SI to occur, without a guarantee of it
being accomplished. When this happens, goals are not easily
completed, resulting in sensory integration disorder (SID).
The normal process of SI begins before
birth and continues throughout life, with the majority of SI
development occurring before the early teenage years. The
ability for SI to become more refined and effective coincides
with the aging process as it determines how well motor
and speech skills, and emotional stability develop. The
beginnings of the SI theory by Ayres instigated ongoing research
that looks at the crucial foundation it provides for complex
learning and behavior throughout life.
Causes and symptoms
The presence of a sensory integration
disorder is typically detected in young children. While most
children develop SI during the course of ordinary childhood
activities, which helps establish such things as the ability for
motor planning and adapting to incoming sensations, others' SI
ability does not develop as efficiently. When their process is
disordered, a variety of problems in learning, development, or
behavior become obvious.
Those who have sensory integration
dysfunction may be unable to respond to certain sensory
information by planning and organizing what needs to be done in
an appropriate and automatic manner. This may cause a primitive
survival technique called "fright, flight, and fight,"
or withdrawal response, which originates from the
"primitive" brain. This response often appears extreme
and inappropriate for the particular situation.
The neurological disorganization
resulting in SID occurs in three different ways: the brain does
not receive messages due to a disconnection in the neuron cells;
sensory messages are received inconsistently; or sensory
messages are received consistently, but do not connect properly
with other sensory messages. When the brain poorly processes
sensory messages, inefficient motor, language, or emotional
output is the result.
According to Sensory Integration
International (SII), a non-profit corporation concerned with the
impact of sensory integrative problems on people's lives, the
following are some signs of sensory integration disorder (SID):
to touch, movement, sights, or sounds
to touch, movement, sights, or sounds
to be easily distracted
and/or emotional problems
level that is unusually high or unusually low
clumsiness or apparent carelessness
lacking in self-control
in making transitions from one situation to another
to unwind or calm self
in speech, language, or motor skills
in academic achievement
While research indicates that sensory
integrative problems are found in up to 70% of children who are
considered learning disabled by schools, the problems of sensory
integration are not confined to children with learning
disabilities. SID transfers through all age groups, as well as
intellectual levels and socioeconomic groups. Factors that
contribute to SID include: premature birth; autism and
other developmental disorders; learning disabilities;
delinquency and substance abuse due to learning disabilities;
stress-related disorders; and brain injury. Two of the biggest
contributing conditions are autism and attention-deficit
hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
In order to determine the presence of
SID, an evaluation may be conducted by a qualified occupational
or physical therapist. An evaluation normally consists of both
standardized testing and structured observations of responses to
sensory stimulation, posture, balance, coordination, and eye
movements. These test results and assessment data, along with
information from other professionals and parents, are carefully
analyzed by the therapist who then makes recommendations about
Occupational therapists play a key role
in the conventional treatment of SID. By providing sensory
integration therapy, occupational therapists are able to supply
the vital sensory input and experiences that children with SID
need to grow and learn. Also referred to as a "sensory
diet," this type of therapy involves a planned and
scheduled activity program implemented by an occupational
therapist, with each "diet" being designed and
developed to meet the needs of the child's nervous system. A
sensory diet stimulates the "near" senses (tactile,
vestibular, and proprioceptive) with a combination of alerting,
organizing, and calming techniques.
Motor skills training methods that
normally consist of adaptive physical education, movement
education, and gymnastics are often used by occupational and
physical therapists. While these are important skills to work
on, the sensory integrative approach is vital to treating SID.
The sensory integrative approach is
guided by one important aspect-the child's motivation in
selection of the activities. By allowing them to be actively
involved, and explore activities that provide sensory
experiences most beneficial to them, children become more mature
and efficient at organizing sensory information.
Sensory integration disorder (SID) is
treatable with occupational therapy, but some alternative
methods are emerging to complement the conventional methods used
Therapeutic body brushing is often used
on children (not infants) who overreact to tactile stimulation.
A specific non-scratching surgical brush is used to make firm,
brisk movements over most of the body, especially the arms,
legs, hands, back and soles of the feet. A technique of deep
joint compression follows the brushing. Usually begun by an
occupational therapist, the technique is taught to parents who
need to complete the process for three to five minutes, six to
eight times a day. The time needed for brushing is reduced as
the child begins to respond more normally to touch. In order for
this therapy to be effective, the correct brush and technique
must be used.
A report in 1998 indicates the use of
cerebral electrical stimulation (CES) as being helpful to
children with conditions such as moderate to severe autistic
spectrum disorders, learning disabilities, and sensory
integration dysfunction. CES is a modification of Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) technology that has
been used to treat adults with various pain problems, including
arthritis and carpal tunnel syndrome. TENS therapy uses a
low voltage signal applied to the body through the skin with the
goal of replacing painful impressions with a massage-like
sensation. A much lower signal is used for CES than that used
for traditional TENS, and the electrodes are placed on the scalp
or ears. Occupational therapists who have studied the use of CES
suggest that CES for children with SID can result in improved
brain activity. The device is worn by children at home for 10
minutes at a time, twice per day.
Music therapy helps promote
active listening. Hypnosis and biofeedback are sometimes
used, along with psychotherapy, to help those with SID,
particularly older patients.
By providing treatment at an early age,
sensory integration disorder may be managed successfully. The
ultimate goal is for the individual to be better able to
interact with his or her environment in a more successful and
process of a neuron that conducts impulses away from the cell
body. Axons are usually long and straight.
the cortex, or the outer layer of the brain, as distinguished
from the inner portion.
a neurotransmitter, or chemical agent released by a particular
brain cell, travels across the synapse to act on the target cell
to either inhibit or excite it.
to proprioception, or the awareness of posture, movement, and
changes in equilibrium and the knowledge of position, weight,
and resistance of objects as they relate to the body.
perception of touch.
to the vestibule; regarding the vestibular nerve of the ear
which is linked to the ability to hear sounds.
For Your Information
· "Body Brushing Therapy for Tactile
Defensiveness." Latitudes (April 30, 1997).
Stimulation for Autism?" Latitudes (October 31, 1998).
Nancy. "Strategies for Colic." Birth Gazette
(September 30, 1996).
Integration Therapy." Latitudes (December 31, 1994).
· Sensory Integration International/The Ayres
Clinic, 1514 Cabrillo Avenue, Torrance, CA 90501-2817.
· Sensory Integration International. http://www.sensoryint.com.
Integration Dysfunction. http://home.ptd.net/blnelson/SIDEWEBPAGE2.htm.
Integration Network. http://www.sinetwork.org.
Enterprises, Inc. http://www.southpawenterprises.com.
Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine, Published December, 2002 by the
The Essay Author is Beth A. Kapes.
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