Sensory Integration Dysfunction is one of the major components of Autism Spectrum Disorder. While typically developing children can sometimes struggle with Sensory Integration Dysfunction, or SID, children with Autism always have some form of sensory issues.
These sensory issues are usually some of the most frustrating characteristics for children with Autism to overcome.
Learning to cope with Sensory Integration Dysfunction is imperative for families hoping for total inclusion for their child with Autism.
What is Sensory Integration Dysfunction?
Sensory Integration Dysfunction is the inability for the brain to sort and organize sensory input as it encounters the input from all of the body’s senses. Sensory integration includes the basic senses of touch, sound, sight, smell, and taste. It also includes movement and body awareness.
The ability of the brain to integrate all of these senses to form a completely functioning map is very important.
Without this ability, your child will struggle with hyper senses, hypo senses, or a mixture of both. Here are some of the most commonly recognized sensory issues.
- Inattention problems
- Inability to calm yourself
- Poor body awareness
- Hyper or hypo activity levels
- Overly sensitive to sounds, lights, movements, and touch
- Under sensitive to sounds, lights, movements, and touch
- Running, falling, and crashing into objects of people
Coping with Sensory Integration Dysfunction
Thankfully, there are ways to counteract the symptoms of Sensory Integration Dysfunction.
First, you must discover the exact combination of symptoms your child has.
An Occupational Therapy evaluation for Sensory Integration Dysfunction will allow your therapist to create a sensory map of your child’s symptoms.
Once a sensory map is created, the therapist can form a plan of therapy activities called a sensory profile, which will help your child integrate those senses.
For example, a child who falls and crashes into objects is seeking sensory input.
Heavy work like jumping or pressure on the major muscles of the body can help the child get the sensory input he is seeking, but in a controlled manner.
Parents can be very successful with sensory activities at home.
In fact, even if you have your child in occupational therapy for sensory processing, it is vital that you practice the sensory activities at home.
If occupational therapy is not an option for your child, sensory therapy resources are readily available in books, websites, and videos.
The Out-of-Sync Child: Recognizing and Coping with Sensory Integration Dysfunction, Revised Edition (click the title to discover more about this book) by Carol Stock Kranowitz, M.A. is a wonderful DVD to help you better understand Sensory Integration Dysfunction.
Sensory activities resemble play, which means you will have little problem gaining your child’s cooperation.