Sensory Integration Therapy (SI)

Sensory integration therapy is based on the fact that children with special needs may be either over stimulated or under stimulated by the environment. Therefore; the aim of sensory integration therapy is to improve the ability of the brain to process sensory information so that the child can function better in his daily activities. It trains the brain to automatically respond appropriately to sensory input. It is used to help children learn to use all their senses together – that is, touch, smell, taste, sight and hearing. This therapy is also used to address and improve challenging or repetitive behavior.
Therapists also sometimes suggest that sensory integration therapy can help with other autism characteristics, like difficulties with play and emotional regulation.

Sensory integration uses two types of tools:

  • assessment tools used to measure someone’s sensory integration.
  • therapeutic tools used to improve symptoms of sensory dysfunction.

What happens during sensory integration is trained occupational therapists aim to help people improve their sensory symptoms by using various therapeutic tools in a clinical setting, with the goal of:

  • stimulating the senses through sensory input
  • challenging fine and gross motor planning
  • encouraging movement of the body
  • developing new adaptive behaviors and responses.

Therapeutic tools can be physical in nature, such as trampoline or pedaling a bicycle, or mental in nature, such as participation or skill challenges.