Sensory integration is an innate neurobiological process that refers to the integration and interpretation of sensory stimulation from the environment. It is the brain’s ability to interpret and organize information from sensation for daily activity. Sensation includes: vision, hearing, taste, smell, touch, balance, gravity, position and movement.

In contrast, sensory integrative dysfunction is a disorder in which sensory input is not integrated or organized appropriately in the brain.It may produce varying degrees of problems in development, information processing, and behavior. Problems that may arise in sensory integration include: learning issues, distractibility, hyperactivity, under-responsiveness to stimuli, poor coordination and balance, and contribute to difficulties at home work and play.

The theory of sensory integration and treatment has been developed by Dr. A. Jean Ayres from studies in the neurosciences and those pertaining to physical development and neuromuscular function. Extensive training and testing is required to become certified to provide the Sensory Integration and Praxis test.

Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) is the more recent term used to clarify the disorder. SPD can be described as having 3 sub-types including Sensory Modulation Disorder or SMD (where one may be sensory over-responsive, sensory under-responsive, or sensory seeking/craving), Sensory Discrimination Disorder or SDD (difficulty discriminating differences using the senses), or lastly a Sensory-Based Motor Disorder or SBMD (where children may have difficulty with balance, vestibular processing, motor planning and posture).

To learn more go to or come to the free, monthly SPD Parent Connections Meeting held at Kidsense (541-386-0009).