TheraPediatrics of Rhode Island

WHAT IS SI?

SI refers to Sensory Integration.

There are seven senses that form the foundation of sensory integration, they are: visual, auditory, touch, smell, taste, vestibular (movement and balance) and proprioception (body awareness). These senses give us information about both our external environment and our internal environment. Our brain uses this information to form a composite picture of who we are physically, where we are, and what is going on around us. Sensory integration is the critical function of the brain that is responsible for producing this composite picture. Sensory integration is the foundation that allows for complex learning and behavior.

SENSORY PROCESSING...is an important aspect of normal brain function, enabling us to take in and make sense of many different kinds of sensations coming into the brain along different sensory channels at the same time. The ability to make adaptive responses is dependent upon adequate sensory processing.

There are several aspects of sensory processing that can become disordered. Three aspects are:

1.  Sensory Modulation

Refers to how a child responds to sensory stimulation.  He or she must have the ability to take in sensory information, decide what is relevant, and make an appropriate behavioral response.  A child with sensory modulation challenges may become over-active, lethargic, shutdown, or fluctuate in response to various sensory experiences affecting attention, arousal level, emotions, and behavior.  Characterized by an exaggerated avoidance to sensory experiences, and escalating arousal which lead to unexpected, illogical, dramatic behaviors such as emotional outbursts that cannot be predicted or explained in the context of the current situation.

2.  Sensory Discrimination

Refers to how a child takes in and perceives certain qualities of sensory information such as size, shape, texture, direction of sound, body position, and movement in space.  of awareness of sensations.   A child with sensory discrimination challenges may experience poor discrimination of specific sensations, poor body scheme, motor clumsiness, and delays in motor development. 

3.  Sensory Based Motor Disorder

Dyspraxia

Refers to a problem with planning, sequencing, & executing new and unfamiliar actions resulting in awkward & poorly coordinated motor skills, poor organizational skills, and difficulty interacting with toys/objects in a playful and imaginative way.  Efficient motor planning or praxis skills is dependent on adequate sensory discrimination and sensory processing abilities.  This child may have difficulty following multi-step directions, a strong desire for sameness or routines, difficulty with handwriting, an awkward pencil grasp, and difficulty with daily life tasks such as dressing.

Postural Disorder

Refers to children who have difficulty maintaining enough control of their bodies to meet the demands of a given motor task.  For example, they can't sit up straight to write at a desk.  They often have lower muscle tone in their shoulders and upper bodies, appear weaker, and have poor balance and poor endurance when compared to same age children.    Postural disorder is frequently seen in combination with other subtypes of Sensory Processing Disorder.

At TheraPediatrics, we provide your child with a comprehensive evaluation that may include the SIPT, other standardized measures, sensory questionaires/ checklists, clinical observation, review of any previous educational or medical tests, and child/parent interview.

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Sensory processing problems are commonly associated with conditions such as:

  • Autism Spectrum and other Pervasive Developmental Disorders
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with or without Hyperactivity
  • Learning Disabilities
  • Regulatory Disorders
  • Developmental Coordination Disorder & Dyspraxias
  • Other Developmental Disabilities