Sensory Integration Therapy (SI) is a highly specialized form of treatment for children who have difficulty processing and integrating information from the senses. Problems with integration can occur due to a developmental disorder, various disease processes or even a head injury, like concussion. While there has been some controversy regarding the efficacy of SI therapy over the years, the most recent studies have shown it to be a very effective set of techniques to help children overcome their sensory processing deficits in order to engage more fully in their day-to-day activities.
SI is a combination of therapies that are designed specifically to meet the needs of each individual child. Processing and integration problems can take many forms, from extreme sensitivity to light or sound, to aversion to various textures or tastes. Even certain smells can be problematic for children who have sensory deficits. Therefore, it is extremely important for the treatment program to be designed to target the specific problems that the child is experiencing.
Most SI therapy is carried out by a professional team that may include occupational therapists, physical therapists and perhaps a nurse as well. This coordinated team will design different types of movements and activities that may retrain the brain’s circuitry so that the problem may be reduced or even eliminated entirely. The great thing for the child is that these therapies are usually combined with forms of play, so that the therapy is often fun.
Working with a dedicated team can have tremendous positive impact on the child’s (and thus the parent’s) quality of life.