Many of the therapies and interventions that children and adults receive for sensory processing disorder is based on the Sensory Integration Theory. This theory was developed by the late A. Jean Ayres, Ph.D., OTR. Dr. Ayers was an occupational therapist, licensed psychologist, and college professor.
According to the sensory integration theory, sensory integration involves a neurobiological process that helps our bodies to organize sensations from our bodies and from our environment. This process allows us to use our bodies effectively in the environment. We receive inputs from our surroundings in terms of space and time. When a person is unable to interact properly with his or her surroundings it can interfere with optimal brain development. It is important to identify deficient areas at a young age so that they can be address therapeutically and improve one’s opportunity for normal development.
Improving sensory integration will make learning easier for children who struggle with sensory processing. Sensory integration can be enhanced by controlling its input to active brain mechanisms. This theory was first introduced back in the 1960s and has been expanded and modified as research and clinical knowledge expanded. In addition to creating a theoretical framework, Ayres developed standardized tests and clinical methods for the identification and remediation of sensory integration problems in children.
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