Sensory Integration Therapy

Multi-Sensory Room

Sensory processing is the body’s ability to receive, interpret and organize information received through the various senses.  Each system may act individually or in conjunction with other systems (sensory integration).  Sensory processing disorder can be thought of as a neurological “traffic jam” – the sensory signals received by the brain are disorganized – which leads to inappropriate responses. Disturbances of the sensory systems cause the inability to appropriately respond to sensory input, leading to regulation, social, emotional and behavioral problems.

Tactile System

The tactile system processes the various forms of touch (light, firm, pressure, static and moving touch) and temperature introduced through the skin, and pain.   Imbalance of the tactile system causes over-sensitivity and decreased awareness of tactile input.  It leads to issues with clothing, socks and shoes, tooth and hair brushing, taking baths/showers, touch from other people, over-touching people or objects, hitting or biting self, textures of food, objects and surfaces, getting dirty, things on the skin and hair, sitting still, delayed or no response to touch and temperature, and high or low tolerance to pain, drooling, and oral defensiveness with certain food textures which can lead to gagging.

Proprioceptive System

The proprioceptive system consists of receptors in the muscles and joints which senses the position, location, orientation and movement of the muscles and joints. The imbalance of the proprioceptive system results in clumsiness, flapping of hands, excessive jumping, crashing on the bed, pillows and pads, banging of head, hitting, biting or pinching self, mouthing fingers and objects, chewing on objects, preference for crunchy foods, difficulty grading force, grasp and movement, and leaning on furniture, wall and people.

Vestibular System

The vestibular system provides balance and orientation in space. The imbalance of the vestibular system results in fear of movement, being upside down, feet leaving the ground, walking on uneven ground and negotiating stairs, or movement-seeking behaviors such as jumping, swinging, spinning, rocking rolling and tumbling, difficulty with direction, spatial orientation and balance, fidgeting and difficulty sitting still, and engaging of unsafe behaviors (climbing and jumping off extremely high or movable surfaces, erratic swinging, rough play, running in inappropriate places).

Auditory System

The auditory system is responsible for hearing.  As sound enters our ear, the brain processes and interprets the information. Imbalance of the auditory system leads to hypersensitivity to sounds (distracted by subtle sounds, fear of loud noises, easy startle) or hyposensitivity to sound (difficulty discriminating differences in word sounds, difficulty locating sound origin, does not respond when spoken to, speaks loudly especially in places where sound echoes, makes noises with mouth, hands and objects, hums and sings to self, shakes or tilts head, and turns up the speaker volume).

Visual System

The visual system is responsible for vision.  As image enters the eyes, the brain processes and interprets the information such as color, shape, orientation and motion.  Imbalance of the visual system results in depth and spatial perception issues leading to tripping, falls and bumping into wall, furniture and people, difficulty with eye-hand/eye-foot coordination activities such as catching, throwing and kicking ball and hitting a ball with a bat, difficulty locating objects especially in cluttered areas, eye tracking limitation which affects reading and focusing eyes on moving target, obsession on objects that move, spinning and flinging of objects, difficulty discriminating differences in size, shape and color of objects, excessive eye blinking due to visual overstimulation, tilting of head, excessive head movement, poor eye contact, and sensitivity to light.

Olfactory System

The olfactory system perceives smells.  It plays a role in long term memory (certain smells can elicit memories). Disruption to the olfactory system results in aversion to strong and subtle smells, sensitivity to perfumes/colognes, refusal of certain foods, smelling of hands after touching people or things, smelling of dirty diapers, shoes, sensitivity to odors, and difficulty discriminating odors which may even lead to drinking of poisonous liquids.

Gustatory System

The gustatory system is responsible for the sense of taste. It senses sweet, salty, sour, bitter and umami (savory or meaty) tastes. This system is a defense mechanism to distinguish between safe and harmful foods. Imbalance of the gustatory system results in picky eating, preference for or refusal of foods with intense flavors, licking, tasting and eating inedible objects, and difficulty discriminating harmful foods.

Sensory Integration Therapy

The concept of sensory integration therapy is to stimulate and organize multiple sensory systems. Therapists use a wide variety of treatment tools during occupational therapy to stimulate each sensory system, such as ball pit, crash pad, swings, trampoline, Universal Exercise Unit (Spider Therapy), weighted vest and blanket, various textures, tastes and scents, scooter board, balance board, tunnels, brushes, vibration, massage, deep pressure, music and sounds, colored lighting, and games for visual scanning and pursuit, just to name a few. Our new and most innovative tool for sensory integration therapy is our multi-sensory room. The selection of the equipment to be used during sensory integration therapy is determined by the therapist according to the patient’s specific sensory needs.

SNOEZELEN® – Multi-Sensory Room

Our Multi-Sensory room is equipped with a wide variety of amazing tools to stimulate and integrate the sensory systems. We have a Bubble Tube with interactive color changing switches, Fiber Optics, Laser Projected Stars, VibroAcoustic Chair, Bubble Maker, Swing, Aromatherapy, Rotating Mirror Ball with Blue and Red Spot Lights, Space Projector, Black Lights, and textured items.

The concept behind a Snoezelen® room is to stimulate and regulate all the senses, relieve stress, anxiety, irritability and pain, and promote well-being, calmness, alertness and focus. As the patient achieves this state of well-being in each session, he/she is able to learn adaptive responses to the environment and eventually translate these adaptive responses to all types of environments he/she encounters.

This is a safe, non-threating environment that help enhance cognitive, perceptual, behavioral, emotional, sensory as well as physical function.

If you believe your child may need help in any of these areas, consult your physician and contact us at (321) 255-6627 to schedule an evaluation with one of our occupational therapists.