Sensory integration is a subconscious and automatic neurological process that occurs in every person at all stages of life. Our brains take in information through our senses and organizes it so that we are able to respond appropriately to particular situations and environmental demands. Sensory experiences include touch, movement, body position, vision, smell, taste, sound and the pull of gravity.
For most people sensory integration develops in the course of ordinary childhood activities. When a person has good sensory integration then they are able to process information automatically and efficiently. But for some people, sensory integration does not develop as efficiently as it should and can affect activities of daily living, academic achievement, behavior or social participation.
Children can present with different types of sensory integration difficulties (also known as sensory processing difficulties). These include:
Sensory integration provides occupational therapists with a framework for assessing and treating children who present with the difficulties outlined above.