Q&A about Sensory Integration Therapy

Lorna Jean King, OTR, FAOTA, is a pioneer of sensory integration therapy.  A colleague of the late A. Jean Ayres, she founded The Center for Neuro-developmental Studies (CNS) in Phoenix.  Here are her thoughts about sensory integration. Q: What is the goal of sensory integration? A: To facilitate the development of the nervous system’s ability to process sensory input.  SI pulls together all sensory messages to form coherent information on which we can act.  This normal process is disrupted in autistic individuals, 85-90% of whom have SI problems. Q: Please comment on the relationship between behavior and sensory needs. A: Behavior is communication.  Observing what triggers the behavior, we can modify the environment and help the child learn self-calming techniques that improve behavior. Q: What should parents look for when deciding whether to have their child evaluated? A: The child who is unusually fearful of movement, or who lacks normal fear of falling, may have vestibular difficulties.  A hypersensitive child…

The Vestibular System and Auditory Language Processing

By Carol Stock Kranowitz, M.A.  Excerpted from The Out-of-Sync Child: Understanding and Coping With Sensory Integration Dysfunction The vestibular system and auditory language processing: Children with vestibular dysfunction may also have auditory language processing problems. As they research their child’s disability, many parents learn about sensory integration and the importance of the body’s vestibular system, perhaps the most basic of all the sensory systems. Initially they learn that the vestibular system coordinates body movements, maintains balance and equilibrium, and helps children develop normal muscle tone. It is not as immediately apparent, though, how the vestibular system influences auditory language processing.  However, the vestibular system plays a significant role in the development of language, so that children with vestibular dysfunction may also have auditory language processing problems. It’s important to realize that the vestibular and auditory systems work together as they process sensations of movement and sound.  These sensations are closely intertwined, because they both begin to be processed in the receptors…