2835 W St. Germain #300
P.O. Box 7729
St. Cloud, MN 56301-7729
Phone: (320) 259-4151
Toll Free: (888) 404-7768
Fax: (320) 259-5707
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Sensory Integration Dysfunction and Treatment
Sensory integration dysfunction is a term used to define difficulties processing information taken in through our senses. This condition often results in diminished ability to complete basic, daily life functions, such as dressing, grooming, socializing, and mobility. It is a complex neurological disorder, and is manifested by difficulty decoding and interpreting sensory information. This causes people with this difficulty to inaccurately process information.
Outcomes, or common behaviors noted with this deficit are as follows:
Treatment for Dysfunction in Sensory Integration
- Under-responsiveness: this indicates that the individual does not receive enough sensory input throughout the day to meet his/her individual need. An under-responsive person will often compensate for this by seeking out additional sensory input, often in inappropriate ways, such as fidgeting excessively, mouthing objects excessively, or engaging in unsafe behaviors, since their need for input is often greater than their sense of personal safety.
- Over-responsiveness: this indicates that the individual has a very low threshold or tolerance for sensory input, and is unusually sensitive to everyday sensory stimuli. Sunlight may be too bright, a grocery store may be too loud, and a hug may be misinterpreted as a painful touch. Over-responsive people are often extremely cautious and hesitant to try new activities.
- Dyspraxia: this term refers to an individual's difficulty planning and executing motor activities, such as navigating through an obstacle course, or simpler yet, moving effectively in a store or mall. This condition can be so severe that a person may be unable to walk in a coordinated fashion, skip, hop, or gallop. A person with dyspraxia may also demonstrate fine motor difficulties that impact handwriting, coloring, and cutting abilities.
Treatment is provided by an occupational therapist. It involves stimulating the senses in many different ways to lessen the effects of sensory integration dysfunction. Therapists utilize swings, large pillows, mats, climbing, jumping, weighted garments, tubs of beans, rice, noodles to provide tactile input, and many other activities to provide enhanced sensory input. Provision of this input on a regular basis will often assist the nervous system to "re-wire" significantly lessening the effects of sensory integration dysfunction.
SPOT Rehabilitation offers specialized programming and therapy for children with sensory integration dysfunction. Our occupational therapists have received extensive training in sensory integration and a member of our OT staff is certified in administration of the Sensory Integration and Praxis Tests. If you have concerns about yourself or a member of your family, discuss this with your physician. A physician's order is required to receive OT. Occupational therapy is a covered benefit of most insurance plans, and SPOT accepts most insurance plans. When the order from the physician is received, an appointment will be scheduled for you and your child to meet with the occupational therapist. The therapist will gather information and complete an evaluation, and will structure an individual treatment plan based upon the specific deficits noted and any goals you or your child may have. Treatment will then occur anywhere from one visit per week to five visits per week, dependent on the treatment goals, level of need, and what is felt to be most appropriate by the caregiver and therapist.