Ayres’ published her research findings, making a case for emerging patterns of sensory integration dysfunction including;
- developmental dyspraxia – this pattern linking motor planning difficulties with deficits in tactile perception
- difficulties with integration of both sides of the body; poor right-left discrimination, difficulties crossing the midline, and reduced bilateral motor coordination – impacting on posture and postural control, thought to related difficulties processing vestibular input
- visual perception, form and space perception deficits impacting on visual-motor functions
- difficulties with visual figure-ground discrimination
- deficits in auditory and language functions.
- tactile defensiveness and related sensory reactivity difficulties impacting negatively on attention
A key feature of Ayres’ Sensory Integration is the adaptive response; “an adaptive response is a purposeful, goal-directed response to a sensory experience … play consists of a series of adaptive responses that make the sensory integration happen. In turn, as sensory integration develops, better organization and more complex skills are possible” Ayres 2005.
In 2013, Viana et al reported that children with dyslexia show poor performance and variability while relating visual and somatosensory information. Children with dyslexia showed less coherent and more variable body sway; suggesting difficulties in multisensory integration from sensory cues coming from multiple sources.
Studies with adults and children found that there is reduced neurophysiological adaptation in adults and children with dyslexia. In 2016, Perrachione et al published research suggesting that people with dyslexia are likely to have differences in sensory integration and processing, noting significantly reduced adaptation to speech from a consistent voice and less adaptation to the repetition of words, objects, and faces. They provide evidence to support the hypothesis that reading skills in dyslexia are related to the degree of neural adaptation.
In 2017 Wandel and Le confirmed the importance of the effective processing of multiple sensory inputs, including successful sensory integration for competent reading.
“Successful reading involves the ability to efficiently integrate visual signals with the sounds of speech and the language system; thus, diagnosing the reading circuitry requires testing the cortical and white matter regions that carry reading information from the visual, auditory, and language systems. Reading impairment can result from problems within neural circuits that are used for multiple purposes, not uniquely reading (Rayner et al., 2012, Seidenberg, 2017). Hence, we advocate assessing the circuitry broadly, not just portions that are highly specialized for reading.”
In clinical practice, some children with sensory integration difficulties benefit more from the use of coloured overlays. Research from Kriss and Evans (2005) suggests that
“Children with dyslexia seem to benefit more from coloured overlays than non‐dyslexic children. MIS and dyslexia are separate entities and are detected and treated in different ways. If a child has both problems then they are likely to be markedly disadvantaged and they should receive prompt treatments appropriate to the two conditions. It is recommended that education professionals as well as eye‐care professionals are alert to the symptoms of MIS and that children are screened for this condition, as well as for other visual anomalies.”
Read the full article: The relationship between dyslexia and Meares‐Irlen Syndrome
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