Information we receive about our world comes to us through our sensory systems. Much of this input comes to us on an unconscious level. Aside from the sense of taste, smell, sight and sound, there is also the sense of touch, movement, gravity and body position. All these sensory systems have receptors that pick up information to be perceived by the brain. All of these systems work together with one another to form appropriate responses.
For some children, sensory integration does not develop as efficiently as it should and a number of problems occur in learning, development or behavior. In therapy, a child will be guided through activities that challenge his or her ability to respond appropriately to sensory input by making organized responses. Therapy will involve activities that provide vestibular, proprioceptive, and tactile stimulation and are designed specific to the child.
Typically, a variety of activities will be used to develop abilities as opposed to specific tasks. The child will rarely be a passive recipient, but will rather be an active participant in this play-like therapy. This type of therapy is almost always fun for children. When a sensory integrative approach is successful, the child is able to automatically process complex sensory stimuli more effectively. The child will have more normal responses to stimuli and an improvement in coordination and motor planning.