Our world is such a beautiful place to live in. Nature itself is such a thing to behold and to cherish. Unfortunately, some of us are not able to fully appreciate these things as they have the so called Sensory Integration Dysfunction. This is a generalized term which pertains to abnormalities or conditions wherein an individual has a problem with his or her sensory integration.
What is sensory integration?
It is our ability to process or utilize the information perceived or absorbed by our sensory receptors from our external environment or from our own bodies to give us a picture of what is happening in our surroundings. It will allow us then to digest what is perceived and react to what is happening on the environment properly and accordingly. Sensory receptors include our five major senses which are sight, hear, smell, touch and taste.
What is dysfunction?
It is an impairment or failure to function properly. It is an abnormality or a disorder in a system.
Having explained or defined both terms we can then summarize or simply say that sensory integration dysfunction is the impairment or failure of the body or the system to utilize the information perceived by our sensory receptors from our external environment or from our own bodies to give us a picture of what is happening in our surroundings, thus we are not able to correctly reply or we are not able to react accordingly to what is happening around us.
Sensory integration starts immediately with life. So, basically fetus still inside the womb of his or her mother starts to develop this. Upon delivery, it starts to develop. While the child grows up his or her sensory integration improves. But, in cases of sensory integration there is an impairment of this development thus the child is unable to react properly to his or her surroundings. To site an example, a child with a normal sensory integration performs the normal activities of a child like playing, running or jumping. But, if the child has the dysfunction his or her activities becomes extreme or excessive, so instead of just normal playing, the child tends to become more overactive. For example, a normal child can feel dizzy once they try to twirl, but with an impaired sensory child will continuously twirl without feeling any dizziness. Another example, child with this disorder often lose their balance and that they are prone to falling or bumping into things.
While growing up, these children slowly becomes aware of their disorder thus behavioural issues can occur. They tend to isolate themselves from others because they are not able to control their emotions. They also have difficulty in absorbing things and they often times react either violently or overly calm. They either perceive things rather over sensitive or insensitive.
Diagnosis for this disorder is done by either an experienced physical therapist, occupational therapist and sometimes with the help of psychologist and the child’s family. They can test the response the child gives to certain sensory stimuli. Treatment is also done by a qualified occupational therapist.