Sensory Integration Dysfunction

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What to expect

Sensory Integration Dysfunction

Sensory integration is where the brain receives messages from the senses (smell, sight, hearing, taste and touch) and turns them into appropriate actions or responses. Sensory integration dysfunction is when the brain has difficulty processing this sensory information and turning it into the appropriate responses and actions.

What is sensory integration dysfunction?

Sensory integration dysfunction is a neurological condition where sensory signals are not organised properly into appropriate responses and actions. It is also known as a ‘sensory processing disorder'.

A child with sensory integration dysfunction is able to receive the sensory information; however their brain will interpret and process it differently than those without the disorder. Due to the brain functioning differently a child with sensory integration dysfunction will respond and behave in unusual ways and also find tasks harder to do.

A child with sensory integration dysfunction will often have difficulties in organising and carrying out their daily activities. In more extreme cases of sensory integration dysfunction a child may avoid activities and become easily agitated or distressed.

Sensory integration dysfunction may affect just one sense e.g. ‘sight', more than one sense or all senses at once. A child may over respond to sensation e.g. finding sensory input unbearable. Other children with sensory integration dysfunction may under respond to sensory information e.g. showing little or no response to sensory input.

Children with sensory integration disorder will often have another condition e.g. autistic spectrum disorder. They may have additional learning difficulties and difficulties in areas of their speech and language.

What causes sensory integration dysfunction?

Sensory integration dysfunction is an inherited disorder which means the cause is coded in your child's genes. It has also been suggested that environmental and complications during pregnancy and birth may also be contributing factors.

What problems caused by sensory integration dysfunction can speech and language therapy help with?

Speech and language therapy can help with some of the following problems which children with sensory integration dysfunction may experience:

How does speech and language therapy help children with sensory integration dysfunction?

Speech and language therapy will be specifically individualised for each child with sensory integration dysfunction, depending on their specific speech and language needs.

Speech and language therapy may focus on several areas of your child's speech and language including speech sounds, attention and receptive (understanding) and expressive (verbal) language.

The speech and language therapist will carry out an initial assessment of your child's communication abilities and will also consider other disorders which may be impacting on your child's speech and language. The speech and language therapist will prioritise what to work on in therapy based on your child's current speech and language ability and also other factors which may be impacting on this.

The main aim of speech and language therapy will be to maximise your child's communicative ability. In more severe cases of sensory integration dysfunction where a child is non-verbal (unable to speak) the speech and language therapist may work on helping your child to accessing and using alternative and augmentative communication.

What would speech and language therapy treatment for a child with sensory integration dysfunction involve?

The speech and language therapist may work with other professionals such as the occupational therapist when treating your child with sensory integration dysfunction. The speech and language therapist will carry out an initial assessment of your child's current communicative ability; from this the speech and language therapist will determine what the best treatment plan is for your child. You will also be given the opportunity to share any concerns you may have and also discuss what you would like to work on in therapy. After the initial assessment speech and language therapy may include some or all of the following:

How do I arrange a speech and language therapy assessment?

To arrange an appointment with one of our speech and language therapists please email office@slt.co.uk or call 0330 0885 643.

Summary

Sensory integration dysfunction is a condition which affects the brain and its ability to organise appropriate responses to the senses e.g. sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste. A child with sensory integration dysfunction may have difficulties with areas of their speech and language. Speech and language therapy will aim to maximise your child's communicative ability. If you feel you and your child may benefit from speech and language therapy then please call us on 0330 0885 643, or email us at office@slt.co.uk


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