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Three Important Domains of Sensory Integration for Children

What is Sensory Integration?


  • Sensory Integration is also known as SI. 

  • It is a framework conceived by Dr. A. Jean Ayers, Ph.D in 1970s guided by the principle of ‘inter-sensory integration is foundational to function’.

  • Meanwhile, dysfunction in sensory integration may lead to difficulties in development. 

  • Hence, an enormous number of children with sensory processing deficits have difficulties regulating their responses to everyday situations including feeding or eating, dressing, playing and socializing where it usually takes place in the home, community, schools, and clinics and incorporated into play. 


The Importance of Sensory to Children


  • To gain appropriate adaptive response to everyday stimuli.

  • To help in children's developmental, behavioral, and learning issues such as ASD, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, developmental coordination disorders

  • To stimulate children by reducing stress, increasing adequate adaptive responses to sensory stimuli, concentrations, and social interactions.

  • To organize the sensory system by improving the nervous system's sensory processing, organization, integration, and motor planning.


(Guardado & Sergeant, 2023)



Pyramid of learning has shown that sensory processing is fundamental for children’s development in many aspects followed by good performance of sensory processing. 

 

The Activities for Children for Their Sensory Input (therapists, teachers, parents).


Tactile 


  • Tactile processing is referred to as the sense of touch in a way a body perceives and responds to input on the outermost system of the body: skin and nerves and muscles underneath. 

  • When a child's tactile sensitivity is impacted, they may exhibit behaviours such as withdrawing from physical contact, avoiding touching substances like sand or paint, and steering clear of specific types of clothing.



Sensory Brush (Wilbarger)



  • Every 2-3 hours / availability.

  • One direction brushing (with pressure) on arms (include hands) and legs (include feet) on both sides. 

  • Count 10 times each side.

  • Avoid face, head, chest, abdomen, private part, buttock, inner thigh and spine area. 

Deep pressure massage

  • Massage on arms and legs with light pressure.

  • Hugging. 

Messy Play


  • Provide a variety of textures and shapes such as slimy, rough, soft, hard, sharp, curvy (jelly, pasta of different type, spaghetti, marshmallow, fruits, bread, crackers, etc).

  • Outdoor/indoor ; on chair/on the floor ; cloth on or off.

  • 15-30 minutes. 

  • Recommend edible materials. 

  • Supervise your children.


Walk on different textures of mats


  • Spiky mats.

  • Blanket.

  • Uneven floor.

  • Egg box/tray.

  • Grass. 

  • Sand. 

Ball tapping/rolling on body

  • Roll ball & tap (prefer gym ball in small size) on front, back, upper and lower limbs.

  • Avoid face, head and private part area. 

  • 3 rounds. 

playdough/theraputty 

  • Rolling into balls like cookies and snakes.

  • Pinch and pull the materials.



Proprioceptive


  • Proprioception processing is referred to as the sense of the different body parts are, how they move and how much strength our muscles need to use in receiving proprioceptive input from our sensory receptors located in our skin, muscles and joints.

  • When a child's proprioceptive system is underdeveloped, they often exhibit a lack of awareness of their body when standing, walking, or sitting, and may find it challenging to manipulate small objects.


Joint compression

  • Straighten limbs.

  • Press between the joints (shoulders, elbow, wrists, hips, knees and ankles) gently.

  • No pulling but releasing.

  • Count 10 times each. 

Jumping/hooping

  • Trampoline. 

  • Hoopy the huddle. 

  • Jump on bed/sofa with supervision. 

Climbing



  • Climb onto the monkey bar.

  • Wall climbing. 

  • Rope climbing. 


Wheelbarrow walk/crab walk/prone lying

  • 10-15 minutes (may break in between).

  • Safe floor. 

  • Can use a gym ball/chair or just hold their legs. 

  • Recommend to add other tasks while in that position such as sorting, puzzling, matching, drawing, etc.

Stress Ball/Squeeze

  • Provide a stress ball before starting with other activities as a warm up. 

  • 5-10 minutes.

  • Can provide a reward too after finishing the task given. 



Vestibular


  • The vestibular processing tells us where our body is in relation to gravity, where it is moving to and how fast. Vestibular receptors, located in the inner ear, tell the brain the body’s position and where it is in space, key to balance and coordination, among other things.

  • When a child is sensitive to vestibular stimulation, it may manifest as a fear of activities such as using swings, slides, climbing stairs, or engaging in crawling and walking. These children are often perceived as "clumsy." Conversely, when a child lacks vestibular stimulation (hyporeactive vestibular system), they may exhibit aggressive behaviors, such as frequent jumping or spinning.


Gym ball

  • Bouncing on a gym ball.

  • Rolling front, back and side to side on the gym ball. 

  • Use a gym ball as a chair while doing table task activities. 

Slide 



Swing 

  • This can be particularly beneficial for children with sensory processing difficulties, as it helps them become more comfortable with movement and spatial awareness.

Balance Beams


  • Walk on balance beams or on the lines.

  • Different heights, widths. 

Bosu Ball/Balance Board


  • Static standing on it.

  • Dynamic with movement such as throwing bean bags, crumpling papers, clipping, peeling, etc. 

Trampoline 

  • Count of 10.

  • Safe floor with supervision. 

  • Can combine with other activities such as throwing bean bags or balls while jumping or balancing on trampoline. 

Crawling


  • Through tunnel

  • Under the table/chair


Climbing/monkey bar


  • Hanging and climbing on a monkey bar.

  • Combine with picking and pulling toys through the bars or on top of the bar. 


*Example of Sensory Circuit:

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