What is Sensory Integration?

The term Sensory Integration describes how our brain receives and makes sense of information from our senses, so that we can do the things we need to do in everyday life.


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Sensory needs can affect children in different ways:

  • Under and over-responding to sensation: Children who under-respond to sensory information may not notice typical levels of sensation. Children who over-respond to sensory information may feel overwhelmed by everyday levels of sensation. 
  • Difficulty making use of sensory information: Some children have difficulty understanding what their senses are telling them e.g. they might find it difficult to tell if they are hungry or thirsty.
  • Moderate coordination difficulties: Children may have difficulties with body awareness and balance. This can lead to difficulties with visual skills, using both sides of the body together and working out the order to complete activities e.g. they may try to put their underpants over their trousers. 
  • Complex coordination difficulties: Children may have difficulties with body awareness, balance and making sense of touch information. This can make it difficult for children to come up with new play and movement ideas and put them into action.

This can cause difficulties in the following areas:

  • Self-care: Washing, dressing, teeth cleaning, hair brushing, toileting.
  • Education: Concentration, remaining seated, handwriting and using classroom resources.
  • Play and Leisure: Coping with busy or noisy environments.
  • Self-regulation: This is our ability to match our energy levels to the situation and what we are doing.