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In this section you will find the following information:

Click on the subheading of your choice to go directly to that section for further information.



Adapted from Sensory Integration: Answers for Parents –


As a parent, you know and understand your child better than anyone else. It is not uncommon for many parents to be confused and frustrated by perplexing behaviors or difficulties seen in their children. Have you ever asked yourself…


  • Why is my child so picky about everything? She only likes to wear certain types of clothes and only eats a few types of foods.

  • Why does my child have so much trouble doing his homework? He complains that he is always losing his place when copying from the blackboard at school and his schoolwork is so messy.

  • When we go to the playground, my child either clings to my side or hangs out over by the fence away from the other children. He always cries when we try to put him on a swing or encourage him to climb on the monkey bars. Will he grow out of this?

  • It is so hard to get my child ready for school in the morning! Why does she have such a difficult time waking up and following her morning routine so that she isn’t late every day for the school bus?

It is important for you to know that these are real problems, rather than imagined or related merely to personality, parental influences or typical phases of development (PTN, 2004). Although you can’t put your finger on the problem, you sense that something is just not quite right. You may have heard of the term “sensory integration” but are unsure if it applies to your child. It is common for parents to hear differing opinions and options when their children’s challenges are not easily recognized or understood, however, learning about sensory integration will provide you with some of the answers that you seek! We hope that the information provided here may answer some of your questions and lead you to some resources to address your concerns.


What is Sensory Integration?


Sensory integration is the brain’s ability to take in, process and organize sensory information that we perceive through different sensory systems in our bodies. Through our senses, we develop an understanding of our world, and often times, this occurs without us even being aware. When our sensory systems are working together, it allows us to do the following things:

·  Pick out a small object located in the bottom of a purse without being able to see inside the purse

·  Learn how to balance and pedal while riding a bicycle

·  Be able to get on and off an escalator easily

·  Know something by its sensory qualities such as color, shape, size, texture taste and smell

·  Learn to write and draw

·  Know how close or far away we are from objects and people and avoid bumping into them

·  Be able to accept touch and be able to wear different types of clothing material without it feeling too itchy or to tight

·  Tolerate a variety of foods and smells to have a healthy diet

Our emotions, feelings and level of alertness are also affected by our ability to adequately process and organize sensory experiences. Think about how you feel as you experience the following:

  • A gentle massage versus being tickled or having a bug crawling on your arm

  • Riding a roller coaster versus gently rocking in a rocking chair

  • The smell of an apple pie baking in the oven versus the smell of smoke in the attic

  • The loud sound of a fire alarm versus the sound of church bells

  • Sleeping under a heavy down comforter in a cool room versus being locked out of your house on a cold day

  • A warm bath versus a jump into a cold pool


Sensory Systems:


Our brains must be able to organize and process information that comes from our sensory systems in order to respond appropriately. To do so, we must be able to integrate information from all of our sensory systems including the tactile system, vestibular system, proprioceptive system, visual system, auditory system, and the olfactory/gustatory system.



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