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Sensory Integration Therapy

“Sensory Integration is the organisation of sensations for use. Our senses give us information about the physical conditions of our body and the environment around us.”
Jean Ayres

Sensory Processing Difficulties can present in a wide range of different ways. Children might struggle to participate in daily activities such as dressing, wearing clothes of different textures, washing their hair, eating a range of different foods, coping with certain no or in busy or loud settings. They may present as having poor attention, clumsy, hyperactive, perhaps developmentally delayed behind other children of their own age. They may have difficulties playing, problem solving, or developing skills.

Our sensory systems are imperative to all aspects of our ability to engage in the world around us. Each of these systems individually fulfil a specific role for us, and together they constantly inform our brain about our body and our environment. This is so we can attend to what is important for us – keeping us safe, or interacting, exploring, mastering. Our sensory processing is very closely linked with our emotional processing and regulation.

We may be over-responsive to particular sensory input. This means that our brain needs to receive less information from one or more of our sensory systems to register and process it. This often means we are sensitive to that kind of sensory information. For example, if we are over-responsive to auditory input, noisy environments, or particularly loud noises such as hand dryers may bother us.

Alternatively, we may be under-responsive to particular sensory input. This means that our brain needs to receive more information from one or more of our sensory systems to register and process it. For example, if we are under-responsive to tactile input, we may not notice food on our face after eating.

This can be affected by our neurological thresholds, or by past experience (or lack thereof). We may also demonstrate seeking (or “craving”) of particular sensory input, for example seeking movement.

Our Visual System provides information about who and what we can see around us and can enable us to engage in play and social interactions. It tells us about space, depth, distance, and develops with our movement to support hand-eye coordination. It can filter out things we don’t need to pay attention to and can also warn us when danger may be coming and help us respond to it.

Our Auditory System provides us with opportunity to hear social and environmental sounds. It helps us to use verbal language to communicate, socially engage, dance, and sing, and to develop a sense of time and space. It can filter out things we don’t need to pay attention to and can also warn us when danger may be coming and help us respond to it.

Our Tactile System provides us with information about our where our body is. It informs us of touch which may be harmful [sharp or hot], and also helps us to receive nurture and comfort through different textures, temperatures, pressures. It helps us to explore our environment, and to interact with people, food, and objects within it.

Our Vestibular System supports our relationship with gravity; where and how we are moving, our speed and direction. It supports our balance, and our self-saving responses. It supports our postural tone; how much our muscles are activated in accordance to what we are doing. This differs depending on our position, and our activity.

Our Proprioceptive System helps to create an organised sense of self. It supports our body awareness and helps to grade our force of movement; how tightly we need to hold or push something. It is also a key sensory system for supporting or ‘modulating’ our levels of arousal, through pushing, pulling, lifting, hanging and squeezing.

Our Olfactory System (smell) is important for survival – to recognise safe food, and receive warning signals (such as burnt food, poisons). Our olfactory system bypasses some of the sensory integration systems in the brain and has very strong links with memory. Smells can evoke strong positive (or negative) emotional reactions, dependent on experience.

Our Gustatory System (taste) uses taste buds as sensory organs. Taste buds respond to sweet, bitter, sour, salty, and umami tastes, and transmit this information to our brain., This helps with making sure we don’t ingest poison or toxins, but also particular tastes active certain ‘pleasure processing’ parts of our brain- sweet, salt, and savoury tastes.

Our Interoceptive System tells us about what is going on inside our body. Sensations inform us if we are hungry, thirsty, if we need the toilet, if we are hot or cold. It prompts us to take action based on this information, and tells us when our internal systems are balanced, so we can focus on engaging in the external world. It is essential for self-regulation.

We have a range of assessment and profiling methods to support us to understand each of our clients holistically; from a sensory, emotional, neurodevelopmental, and physical perspective. Our Therapists are both Advanced Sensory Integration Practitioners and Sensory Integration and Praxis Test [SIPT] certified. Further information relating to the specialisms of our team can be found on Our Team page.

“Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) is described as a neurological impairment which impedes on an individual’s ability to engage in their environment, affecting our ability to engage in everyday life. It is considered to include a ‘cluster’ of disorders which relate to how the Central Nervous System processes and interprets information from the sensory systems.”
Joanna Cosbey