Sensory integration treatment is unique to the occupational therapy profession. Though at special
therapies we have retired our SI gym, we continue to rely on the theories to guide our home
program and parent education to help meet our clients’ sensory needs.
Our practice now utilizes Bodywork method exclusively to treat the
whole realm of sensory integration / processing dysfunctions.
Key concept: The measurement of the brain making sense from sensory input is reflected by the array of adaptive responses to the complexity of the world. A balanced autonomic nervous system requires not over-or under-reacting to sensory events, which assists the best adaptive responses. Neuronal processing interactions in the complexity of interchange between brain regions lead to predictable behavioral patterns.
Dr. A. Jean Ayres, Ph.D., OTR, FAOTA, was an innovative occupational therapist and
neurobehavioral scientist. She dedicated her life to studying the impact of sensory information
processing on a child's ability to learn and control their body, emotions, and behavior. She
created the sensory integration therapy (SI) philosophy utilized in specialized occupational
therapy practices. Now referred to as Ayres Sensory Integration®, the fidelity of this approach
includes the theory, assessment, patterns of sensory integration and praxis dysfunction, and
intervention concepts. Her work has helped launch generations of occupational therapists
specializing in her methods, aiding their clinical reasoning and research using neurobehavioral
analysis. Sensory integration theory proposes that information processing is a neurobiological
activity that modulates and organizes information with a resulting expression of an adaptive (or
maladaptive) response. The end products of sensory integration have been studied extensively in
OT and applied to practice with parallel discoveries made in neuroscience.
However, the sensory integration approach misses a portion of understanding the full breadth of the child's nervous system because behaviors are analyzed at arm's length away from the body. We are missing the analysis of the structural integrity of the body and its contributions to
behaviors. In other words, we have gained so much more valuable information through applying Bodywork methods when analyzing sensory struggles.