So what are structured clincial observations? What do they mean?

In the practice of Ayres’ Sensory Integration, structured clinical neurological observations form part of the comprehensive assessment needed to understand the sensory systems and how challenges to sensory registration, sensory processing and sensory integration contribute to difficulties participating in activities of daily life.

In 1972, Ayres, who had worked with adults with traumatic brain injury, described her adaptation of adult neurological observations for the testing of children in her book Sensory Integration and Learning Disorders.

During assessment for sensory integration difficulties, a therapist will use clinical reasoning to start to hypothesise which sensory systems may be contributing to a person’s presentation and current difficulties in participation in everyday life. You can watch a therapist do a version of these tests here. Depending on what a therapist is seeing as they assess, they will choose which are the right ones to do next and in what order.

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