When a person registers, processes and responds to sensory input we call this Sensory Integration (Ayres 1972). Sensory Integration happens when a person uses sensory input from inside their own body and from the world around them to understand the world, what just happened, is happening and what might happen next.

When sensory integration and development can’t happen like it should, sensory integration difficulties (sometimes called sensory processing disorder) can happen. This can mean that managing feelings, moving about, learning and getting along with others can be tricky.

It can stop a person learning the skills they need for everyday life –  being organised, looking after themselves, joining in with others, focussing and listening, sitting still  and even behaving in a way that makes learning possible and everyday life easier.

Sensory Integration makes it possible for people to successfully carry out all the activities that make up their daily lives. To do this the senses, nerves and the brain collect, filter and organise sensory information so it can be used. When the senses cannot be properly integrated or don’t work as well as they should, life becomes hard and some things are impossible to do.

Sensory difficulties interfere with being able to cope with feelings, get along with others, move about and do things like work, play, learning and being able to do self-care. In children, sensory integration difficulties can delay and hamper normal development and participation in home and school activities.

Smith 2013

Hear Ryder’s story and how sensory difficulties impacted on his early development and learning.

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