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Sensory Integration

Sensory Integration - ABC"What is Sensory Integration Dysfunction?  Does it affect learning? Can the symptoms (if not recognized) cause what appears to be a behaviorally defiant child? These are just some of the questions we had to explore".

Nana's definition

Sensory Integration Dysfunction can affect all the senses (sight, hearing, touch, taste, smell).  The way I understand it , the senses are extremely acute or non-existent sporadically.  Some children crash into everything and "it doesn't hurt". They may be light sensitive and "need sunglasses", they may cover their ears frequently but "love to make noise", they may love to touch everything and everyone, but say "it hurts" when others touch them, they may prefer or refuse certain tastes and/or textures, they may chew on inedible objects such as pens and shirts, they may say "something smells bad" when Nana's cooking, but they may love the smell of new shoes, cat's fur and butterfly wings.  Source: Nana observing my grandson 

A technical definition

If the sensory input is not processed and organized accurately, the result is abnormal motor output with abnormal feedback. Many atypical behaviors observed in children can be better understood when the effects of a disorganized central nervous system are taken into consideration. Without an efficient nervous system, we are unable to interact comfortably with the world around us. Source: www.dispraxia.com (note: their website is no longer active)


Symptoms include: Over sensitivity to touch, movement, sights, or sounds. Under-reactive to sensory stimulation (body whirling or crashing). Activity level that is unusually high or unusually low. Coordination problems (poor balance or motor coordination). Delays in Speech, language, motor skills, or academic achievement. Poor organization of behavior (impulsive, distractible, frustrated, aggressive). Poor self concept (may appear lazy, bored, or unmotivated). Source: various websites (below). The symptoms mimic those of ADD/ADHD so be cautious when developing your treatment plan.

Does it affect learning?

I can't imagine a case of untreated SI that doesn't interfere with a child's education. If the child is distracted and annoyed by sounds, sights, movement (or lack of), touch, smells and tastes (among other sensations) how could these irritants not interfere with his/her education???? Is this possible?

Try this: Turn on the radio, but don't tune it. Leave it on static and fuzz. Turn it up.   Ask someone to turn the lights on and off, at will. Strap yourself into a broken chair that is missing a leg and use a table that is off balance - you know the ones in restaurants that makes us all so mad. Now, put on some scratchy lace in place of a comfy T-shirt, put your pants on backwards and wear shoes one size too small.  Pour a bowl of grated parmesan cheese, open a can of sardines and bring the cat box to the table. Now, snack on your least favorite food; the one you NEVER eat because it comes with a gag reflex. With all this in place, pick up a new book and learn something new! How can anyone claim that SI problems don't interfere with education?? 
Source: gigli.tripod.com/stories/j.htm

For more information, please visit: 

A web community
Provides information and support for parents of children who have Sensory Integration Disorder http://groups.msn.com/SensoryIntegration

Children’s Disabilities Information  

Lighthouse Project - Definition of Sensory Terms

List of websites on Sensory Integration Dysfunction

New Horizons For Learning


School Behavior.com

Sensory Integration Exercises

Sensory Integration Disorder - by Harriet McCarthy

Sensory Integrative Dysfunction in Young Children

Sensory Integration International (SII)
A  non-profit, tax-exempt corporation concerned with the impact of sensory integrative problems on people's lives. They bring together professionals, individuals, families, and researchers about sensory integration. You can access their FAQ pages here.

Sensory Integration Therapy

Sensory Integration vs. Learning Problems/Classroom Performance

Sensory Resources  

Symptoms of Sensory Integration Dysfunction


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