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Sensory Integration
Techniques

KRISTINE C. GARCIA
CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY, FULLERTON
EDUCATION SPECIAL PROGRAMMING INTERN
OCTOBER 28, 2013
What is Sensory Integration (SI)?
SENSORY INTEGRATION IS
THE PROCESS OF
ORGANIZING SENSORY
INPUT SO THAT THE BRAIN
PRODUCES USEFUL BODY
RESPONSES, PERCEPTIONS,
EMOTIONS, AND
THOUGHTS.
History of Sensory Integration
Anna Jean Ayres, PhD, OTR

 1923-1989
 Occupational

Therapist and
Educational
Psychologist
 USC Alumna
 Ayres Clinic in
Torrance, CA
 Died from cancer
 Ayres applied Sensory Integration to neural

processes as they relate to functional
behavior
 Research focused on Sensory Integration
and the brain, and how Sensory Integration
Dysfunction affects children’s learning
abilities
 Sensory Integration is a model for understanding

the way in which sensation affects development
 Problems with SI can limit a child’s ability to:









Attend to tasks
Perform coordinated motor actions
Plan and sequence tasks
Develop social relationships
Manage classroom demands
Perform self-care tasks
Participate in family activities
How many senses do
we have?
 Seven Senses
1.
2.

3.
4.
5.

6.

7.

Vision (sight)
Auditory (hearing)
Gustatory (taste)
Olfactory (smell)
Tactile (touch)
Proprioceptive (joint position
sense/body awareness)
Vestibular (balance and
movement)
3 Main Sensory Systems

Tactile System
Proprioceptive System
Vestibular System
Tactile System
NERVES UNDER THE SKIN’S
SURFACE THAT SEND
INFORMATION (LIKE
TOUCH, PAIN,
TEMPERATURE, AND
PRESSURE) TO THE BRAIN.
Tactile System

Our sense of touch,
not just from the
hands, but from all
over the body,
including the inside
of the mouth
Tactile System
 Some activities which improve tactile sensation
 Playing with sand
 Painting (i.e., finger painting or with large paint brushes,
feathers, cotton balls, etc.)
 Exploring with Play-Doh
 Play with sponges
 Arts and crafts projects with rice, beans, glue, sand
 Dress up activities with different fabrics
 Water games (playing in the Marina)
 Texture scavenger hunt
 Blow bubbles, cotton balls, feathers, whistles
Tactile System
 Suck, Swallow, Breathe (SSB) Synchrony
 An intricately coordinated process that a typical child can
execute effortlessly


Dependent on SSB Synchrony:
 Shallow breath when angry/nervous
 Take a deep breath before heavy lifting or raising your voice
 Eat and breathe without choking

 Candles Song (melody to “Ten Little Indians”)
1 little, 2 little, 3 little candles
4 little, 5 little, 6 little candles
7 little, 8 little, 9 little candles
10 little candles let’s blow them out
Proprioceptive System
CONSISTS OF MUSCLES,
JOINTS, AND TENDONS
THAT PROVIDE A PERSON
WITH A SUBCONSCIOUS
AWARENESS OF BODY
POSITION.
Proprioceptive System
 Our internal sense from joints and muscles
 The basis of muscle memory
 Remembering how to hold a pencil and write/draw
 Poor proprioception makes it hard to coordinate

movements
 Example: What happens if we no longer had
proprioceptors?




Proprioception makes moving finger an easy task
Without it, the brain cannot feel what the finger is doing
Will have to rely on vision to compensate for the lost feedback
from the proprioceptors
Proprioceptive System
 Activities can be

passive or active


Passive: where deep
pressure is given to the
child
 Pressure or weighted
vests/blankets
 Bear hugs
 Rolling yoga ball or
blanket over child
 Backpack

 Pressure vest

Weighted vest 
Proprioceptive System


Active: where the child actively takes part in a heavy work activity
Animal walks (crabs, frogs, rabbits)
 Digging
 Jumping
 Stamping
 Pull/push weighted objects (cars, wagons, scooters, chairs, etc.)
 Wheelbarrow walk (also helps vestibular system)
 Clean the board
 Throw, catch, kick balls to a wall or friend
 Chair/wall push ups
 Carry groceries
 Tummy time (for infants)
 Hopscotch

Vestibular System
STRUCTURES WITHIN THE
INNER EAR (THE SEMI CIRCULAR CANALS) THAT
DETECT MOVEMENT AND
CHANGES IN THE POSITION
OF THE HEAD.
Vestibular System
 Our sense of movement, the pull of earth’s gravity,

and position in space
 First sensory organ to be completed during pre-natal
development
 Example:


The vestibular system tells you when your head is upright or
tilted or even how fast you’re going on a roller coaster even
with your eyes closed.
Vestibular System
 Activities











Twist Ball Pass
Over-under Pass
Fly Swat
Potato Sac Race
3-legged Race
Swinging
Standing on one leg
Rocking chair












Scooter board/Skateboard
Tumbling
Dance/movement
Bike riding
Wagon rides
Spinning on chair
Sliding
Walking on balance beam
ACTIVITY
(5 minutes at each station)
 By implementing these

techniques, children may:









Improve attention and general level of
alertness
Develop faster processing and response
to verbal requests from others
Increase in behavioral flexibility and
cooperativeness
Have better balance and coordination
Have better fine motor control,
increased legibility, and space
management of handwriting
References
American Occupational Therapy Association. (2008). Frequently asked
questions about Ayres sensory integration. Retrieved from
http://www.aota.org/~/media/Corporate/Files/Practice/Children/Res
ources/FAQs/FAQAyres.ashx
Ayres, A.J. (1979). Sensory integration and the child. Los Angeles:
Western Psychological Association
Payne, S. & Tyree, A. (2013). Navigating oral motor, feeding and
swallowing disorders in neonates and young children. Retrieved from
http://old.csha.org/2013StateConvention/Handouts/THURSDAY/Pay
ne_Thurs.MS7_Navigating%20Oral%20Motor.pdf
Shriber L. (2013). Sensory Integration. International Encyclopedia of
Rehabilitation. Retrieved from
http://cirrie.buffalo.edu/encyclopedia/en/article/361/

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Sensory Integration Techniques

  • 1. Sensory Integration Techniques KRISTINE C. GARCIA CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY, FULLERTON EDUCATION SPECIAL PROGRAMMING INTERN OCTOBER 28, 2013
  • 2. What is Sensory Integration (SI)? SENSORY INTEGRATION IS THE PROCESS OF ORGANIZING SENSORY INPUT SO THAT THE BRAIN PRODUCES USEFUL BODY RESPONSES, PERCEPTIONS, EMOTIONS, AND THOUGHTS.
  • 3. History of Sensory Integration Anna Jean Ayres, PhD, OTR  1923-1989  Occupational Therapist and Educational Psychologist  USC Alumna  Ayres Clinic in Torrance, CA  Died from cancer
  • 4.  Ayres applied Sensory Integration to neural processes as they relate to functional behavior  Research focused on Sensory Integration and the brain, and how Sensory Integration Dysfunction affects children’s learning abilities
  • 5.  Sensory Integration is a model for understanding the way in which sensation affects development  Problems with SI can limit a child’s ability to:        Attend to tasks Perform coordinated motor actions Plan and sequence tasks Develop social relationships Manage classroom demands Perform self-care tasks Participate in family activities
  • 6. How many senses do we have?
  • 7.  Seven Senses 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. Vision (sight) Auditory (hearing) Gustatory (taste) Olfactory (smell) Tactile (touch) Proprioceptive (joint position sense/body awareness) Vestibular (balance and movement)
  • 8. 3 Main Sensory Systems Tactile System Proprioceptive System Vestibular System
  • 9. Tactile System NERVES UNDER THE SKIN’S SURFACE THAT SEND INFORMATION (LIKE TOUCH, PAIN, TEMPERATURE, AND PRESSURE) TO THE BRAIN.
  • 10. Tactile System Our sense of touch, not just from the hands, but from all over the body, including the inside of the mouth
  • 11. Tactile System  Some activities which improve tactile sensation  Playing with sand  Painting (i.e., finger painting or with large paint brushes, feathers, cotton balls, etc.)  Exploring with Play-Doh  Play with sponges  Arts and crafts projects with rice, beans, glue, sand  Dress up activities with different fabrics  Water games (playing in the Marina)  Texture scavenger hunt  Blow bubbles, cotton balls, feathers, whistles
  • 12. Tactile System  Suck, Swallow, Breathe (SSB) Synchrony  An intricately coordinated process that a typical child can execute effortlessly  Dependent on SSB Synchrony:  Shallow breath when angry/nervous  Take a deep breath before heavy lifting or raising your voice  Eat and breathe without choking  Candles Song (melody to “Ten Little Indians”) 1 little, 2 little, 3 little candles 4 little, 5 little, 6 little candles 7 little, 8 little, 9 little candles 10 little candles let’s blow them out
  • 13. Proprioceptive System CONSISTS OF MUSCLES, JOINTS, AND TENDONS THAT PROVIDE A PERSON WITH A SUBCONSCIOUS AWARENESS OF BODY POSITION.
  • 14. Proprioceptive System  Our internal sense from joints and muscles  The basis of muscle memory  Remembering how to hold a pencil and write/draw  Poor proprioception makes it hard to coordinate movements  Example: What happens if we no longer had proprioceptors?    Proprioception makes moving finger an easy task Without it, the brain cannot feel what the finger is doing Will have to rely on vision to compensate for the lost feedback from the proprioceptors
  • 15. Proprioceptive System  Activities can be passive or active  Passive: where deep pressure is given to the child  Pressure or weighted vests/blankets  Bear hugs  Rolling yoga ball or blanket over child  Backpack  Pressure vest Weighted vest 
  • 16. Proprioceptive System  Active: where the child actively takes part in a heavy work activity Animal walks (crabs, frogs, rabbits)  Digging  Jumping  Stamping  Pull/push weighted objects (cars, wagons, scooters, chairs, etc.)  Wheelbarrow walk (also helps vestibular system)  Clean the board  Throw, catch, kick balls to a wall or friend  Chair/wall push ups  Carry groceries  Tummy time (for infants)  Hopscotch 
  • 17. Vestibular System STRUCTURES WITHIN THE INNER EAR (THE SEMI CIRCULAR CANALS) THAT DETECT MOVEMENT AND CHANGES IN THE POSITION OF THE HEAD.
  • 18. Vestibular System  Our sense of movement, the pull of earth’s gravity, and position in space  First sensory organ to be completed during pre-natal development  Example:  The vestibular system tells you when your head is upright or tilted or even how fast you’re going on a roller coaster even with your eyes closed.
  • 19. Vestibular System  Activities         Twist Ball Pass Over-under Pass Fly Swat Potato Sac Race 3-legged Race Swinging Standing on one leg Rocking chair         Scooter board/Skateboard Tumbling Dance/movement Bike riding Wagon rides Spinning on chair Sliding Walking on balance beam
  • 20. ACTIVITY (5 minutes at each station)
  • 21.  By implementing these techniques, children may:      Improve attention and general level of alertness Develop faster processing and response to verbal requests from others Increase in behavioral flexibility and cooperativeness Have better balance and coordination Have better fine motor control, increased legibility, and space management of handwriting
  • 22. References American Occupational Therapy Association. (2008). Frequently asked questions about Ayres sensory integration. Retrieved from http://www.aota.org/~/media/Corporate/Files/Practice/Children/Res ources/FAQs/FAQAyres.ashx Ayres, A.J. (1979). Sensory integration and the child. Los Angeles: Western Psychological Association Payne, S. & Tyree, A. (2013). Navigating oral motor, feeding and swallowing disorders in neonates and young children. Retrieved from http://old.csha.org/2013StateConvention/Handouts/THURSDAY/Pay ne_Thurs.MS7_Navigating%20Oral%20Motor.pdf Shriber L. (2013). Sensory Integration. International Encyclopedia of Rehabilitation. Retrieved from http://cirrie.buffalo.edu/encyclopedia/en/article/361/

Editor's Notes

  1. We are constantly taking in information through all of our senses and our brain has to process and integrate them together in order to help us make sense of the world around us. Most of the techniques used in SI is through play to help get the sensory systems trained. These techniques help them learn ways to develop their sensory systems and strategies to help them overcome any tricky spots they may have.
  2. Opened her own clinic in the 70s, known as both Ayres Clinic and Sensory Integration International (SII). After she passed, Anthony Wells became the Executive Director. It was shut down in 2007 due to unfair business practices.
  3. SI focuses on 3 primary sensory systems because these are the senses that develop early and have a major impact on an individual’s development. These 3 senses are interconnected with one another and are connected to several areas of the CNS and brain. Therefore, the activation of some regions of the CNS can influence the function and plasticity of others.
  4. Pretend you’re a toddler transitioning from bottle to cup, and say you were given a paper cup. You tried to drink your juice, only you couldn’t tell how hard to squeeze to hold onto it. So, you squeezed it too hard and the juice spilled all over you. The next time you didn’t squeeze it hard enough and it fell right through your hands and onto the floor. This is one example of your tactile system not working as efficiently, so we could do certain activities through play to help develop it.
  5. Many kids are overly sensitive to tactile input. Shirt tags, pant buttons, getting wet, or even the feeling of foods in the mouth can drive some kids crazy. So these are some activities that can help them get used to tactile stimulation gradually.
  6. Our oral motor skills, touch processing skills, and ability to vary breathing patterns all contribute to attention and organization of behavior. The Suck, Swallow, Breathe synchrony is an intricately coordinated process that a typical child can execute effortlessly. So, when we get angry/nervous, our breaths tend to be shallow; when we take a deep breath before lifting something heavy or raising our voice; or how we eat and breathe without choking – these are all dependent on the Suck, Swallow, Breathe synchrony. Proper development of this action pattern can assist children to be alert and attentive. As we all know, deep breathing patterns also helps with relaxation, calming, and refocusing our minds. So, a popular technique I’ve learned to help children calm down was through the candles song, which we will all sing right now.
  7. A helpful way to understand this particular sensory system is by knowing what happens if it’s no longer there. A typical person is able to move a finger, knowing where and what the finger is doing, with very little effort. They can voluntarily move their finger back and forth and proprioception would make this an easy task. Without proprioception, the brain cannot feel what the finger is doing, and the process will require much more conscious and calculated steps. The person will rely on their vision to compensate for the lost feedback from the proprioceptors.
  8. Proprioceptive input may be the most useful one for self-regulation. These activities make you feel grounded and can be calming for an over-responsive child or invigorating for an under-responsive child.Pressure vests evenly distributes the deep pressure because it’s made out of the same fabric as wet suits (think of bear hugs)  can be worn all day; offers feeling/awareness of body; calming and helps w/ concentration and focusWith the weighted vests, or any weighted product, the pressure applied is mainly due to gravity’s pull on the weights. So, you have to be careful not to add too much or too little weight. It can only be worn for short periods of time because the nervous system eventually adapts to the added weight.
  9. As adults, we have grown to understand ourselves and our bodies. We know what we can and cannot tolerate, what does or does not feel good and most importantly, we have the coping skills and problem solving abilities to deal with it the best way we know. Children do not. So, sensory integration techniques can help proper development in all children.