OT’s have long recognised the links between spoken language (and non-verbal communication) and why communication may be tricky for children and adults with poor sensory registration.

The article (see extract below) summaries supporting literature about language development and extends on those ideas and considers how development of more abstract language may happen; exploring how language development is multi-modal.

Anecdotally many OT’s describe how some children speak spontaneously for the first time during or once sensory integration intervention starts. The evidence for the importance of the senses and higher order function and behaviours are increasingly easier to evidence in neuroscience and beyond – making the critical importance of sensory integration easier to explain.

The embodied account of word meaning proposes that children’s concepts emerge out of sensorimotor interactions (Glenberg and Gallese, 2012; Glenberg, 2015) and there is considerable evidence, particularly for concrete concepts, that this is the case (Smith et al., 2007). However, a challenge for the embodied account of word meaning, and particularly for strong accounts of embodiment, is to explain the acquisition of words that refer to abstract concepts (Borghi et al., 2017; Pexman, 2017). Specifically, if abstract word meanings are not experienced through the senses, how can children acquire them? In spite of the absence of a physical referent, children do learn the meanings of abstract words like love and help. According to a multimodal approach to word meaning, words can be learned in multiple ways, including sensory, motor, emotion, social, and linguistic information associated with the referent (Kousta et al., 2011; Borghi et al., 2019)