Sensory Integration and Sensory Processing Deficits, in simple terms, is the ability that a person has to use sensory information that their body is receiving from their environment. This information is received through what he or she sees, hears, smells, touches and tastes, along with response to movement and body awareness. When a child is unable to perceive or understand how to process the sensory information they are getting from their environment, an unexpected outcome or behavior is observed.
Some signs of sensory integration/processing dysfunction include but are not limited to:
- Overly sensitive to touch, movement, sounds or sights
- Under-reactive to sensory stimulation (observed as a child who seeks out intense sensory input)
- Activity level that is unusually high or low
- Coordination problems and poor awareness of body position and spatial movements.
What is Sensory Integration and Sensory Processing Deficit evaluation and treatment?
First, you'll receive a referral from your primary care physician to schedule an evaluation with a therapist. Evaluations help us understand the deficits or behaviors that your child may be demonstrating. The therapist may use standardized testing, skilled clinical observation, and parent/caregiver interview. After the evaluation, your therapist will discuss the results and, if appropriate, will formulate an individual treatment plan and create goals to help your child make functional gains.
Occupational Therapists are skilled professionals that use many treatment strategies and modalities to assist the parent/caregiver and child to better understand challenges the child is facing. The therapist will set up individual treatment sessions with specific activities to work towards improving the child's response to sensory input. The therapist will also work with the parent/caregiver to provide education and recommend activities to provide carry over into their home and daily environment.
*Please note that insurance coverage greatly varies. Please check with your provider to see if your insurance plan covers Sensory Integration Therapy.