Sensory integration therapy is based on Jean Ayres‘ theory of Sensory Integration which was developed in the 1970’s .
Dr. Ayres wrote that “Sensory Integration is the organization of sensations for use. Our senses give us information about the physical conditions of our body and the environment around us. The brain must organize all of our sensations if a person is to move and learn and behave in a productive manner.”
She defines sensory integration as “the neurological process that organizes sensation from one’s own body and from the environment and makes it possible to use the body effectively within the environment.”
The theory is used to explain the relationship between the brain and behavior and explains why individuals respond in a certain way to sensory input and how it affects behavior.
The different parts of our body that receive sensory information from our environment (such as our skin, eyes and ears) send this information up to our brain. Our brain interprets the information it receives, compares it to other information coming in as well as to information stored in our memory and then the brain uses all of this information to help us respond to our environment. Therefore, sensory integration is important in all the things that we need to do (such as getting dressed, eating, socializing, learning and working).
“It contributes to the understanding of how sensation affects learning, social-emotional development, and neurophysiological processes, such as motor performance, attention, and arousal.”
It is used as an intervention approach, to assess and treat people with functional disorders in sensory processing.
People with Sensory Integrative dysfunction experience problems with their sense of touch, smell, hearing, taste, sight, body coordination, and movement against gravity. Along with this might possibly be difficulties in movement, coordination and sensing where one’s body is in a given space.