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Sensory Integration / Sensory Processing Disorder

Sensory integration disorder is a neurological type ofdisorder characterized by the brain’s inability to process, integrate andrespond to various sorts of information normally received from the body’ssensory systems. It is also sometimes referred to as sensory processing disorderor sensory integration dysfunction. The aforementioned sensory systems areresponsible for the detection of the movements, the position, the pain,temperatures, tastes, smell, sounds and sights. Once the brain received all the data it combines the picture taken fromall the sensory systems so that the body can make sense of all its surroundingsand respond accordingly. The relationship between the brain and the behavior ofa person is called sensory integration and it is of utmost importance for thebehavior and learning abilities. The process of sensory integration is anautomatic one. When the process is characterized as an inefficient one and whenit requires additional attention and effort in order for the sensoryintegration to occur, the condition is referred to sensory integrationdisorder.

Causes and Symptoms of Sensory Integration / SensoryProcessing Disorder

This type of medical condition is usually present in youngchildren and its detection commonly occurs at such a young age. Normal sensoryintegration gets developed in most children throughout the course of ordinarychildhood activities. When the process of the sensory integration is indisorder there are a wide array of different types of behavior, development andlearning problems which tend to occur. Children affected by sensory integrationdysfunction are usually not able to respond to different sensory information. Inmost cases the response from such affected individuals is usually inappropriateand too extreme for the given situation. There are three different ways inwhich the neurological disorganization triggered by the sensory integrationdisorder may occur. In the first way the brain is unable to receive messagesbecause there is a disconnection in the neuron cells. In the second way, allthe sensory messages are received but in a rather inconsistent manner. The thirdway is characterized by consistently received messages which do not connectwith other sensory messages in a proper manner. There is a rather extensivelist of symptoms which may be associated with the sensory integration disorderbut the most common ones include poor body awareness, poor self concept,inability to calm oneself, inability to unwind oneself, lack of self control,impulsive behavior, apparent carelessness, physical clumsiness, delays in motorskills, delays in language, delays in speech, difficulty learning newmovements, emotional problems, social problems, unusually low levels of activity,unusually high levels of activity, limited attention control, tendency to beeasily distracted, difficulty in making transitions from one situation toanother, under reactivity to sounds, under reactivity to sights, underreactivity to movement, under reactivity to touch, over sensitivity to sounds,over sensitivity to sights, over sensitivity to movement and over sensitivityto touch.

Diagnosis of Sensory Integration / Sensory ProcessingDisorder

In order to diagnose this type of medical condition, thereare certain evaluations which need to be undertaken by a specialist. Thisevaluation commonly involves various tests and observations based on the responsesto different kinds of sensory stimulations. Only through a careful analysis isthe doctor able to diagnose the condition properly and recommend the mostappropriate type of treatment method. It is of utmost importance to carefullychoose the right treatment method because children affected by the sensoryintegration disorder often experience difficulties with effectively using fineand gross motor skills, staying on tasks to finishing point, dealing withfrustration, handling high stress situations and managing anxiety. The sensoryprocessing problems are usually associated with the difficulty with the abilityto control impulses, have a proper level of activity, use self defensesuccessfully, understand dependence and independence, appropriately learn newsituations, change plans and handle new situations. The diagnosis of thesensory integration disorder is usually associated with other diagnoses such asdepression, anxiety disorder, behavioral disorders, language disorders,attention deficit disorder, learning disabilities, autism spectrum andpervasive developmental disorder.

Treatment options

The conventional treatment plan for those who suffer fromsensory integration disorder is largely dominated by occupational therapists. Theyprovide the children with therapy but they also supply the sensory input andexperiences. This type of treatment is often referred to as the sensory diet. Itis characterized by carefully planned and schedules program of activities whichneed to be implemented. Each program is individual and it needs to be carefullydeveloped and designed to fit the needs of each and every child. The calming,organizing and alerting techniques are combined in order to stimulate theproprioceptive, vestibular and tactile senses. There are also certain types ofmotor skills training methods which are commonly used in most cases of sensoryintegration disorder. An alternative method of treatment called therapeuticbody brushing is also available.

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