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Sensory Integration (updated June 2003)

What is sensory integration?

Sensory integration is the ability to take in information through the senses and integrate and organize this information in the brain. A child can have a dysfunctional sensory system in which one or more senses overreact or under react to stimulation from the environment. Therapy for sensory integration dysfunction is usually done by an occupational therapist or physical therapist who provides sensory and motor activities, often in the form of play, to help the child better absorb and process sensory information. It focuses primarily on three basic senses-tactile (touch), vestibular (sense of movement), and proprioceptive (body position). The goal of sensory integration therapy is to help the individual organize or modulate the sensory information in order to have a more organized response to sensory stimuli.

Following are links to an ERIC digest well as selected citations from the ERIC database and the search terms we used to find the citations.


You can search the ERIC database yourself on the Internet through either of the following web sites:

ERIC Citations

The full text of citations beginning with an ED number (for example, EDxxxxxx) is available:

  • In microfiche collections worldwide; to find your nearest ERIC Resource Collection, point your web browser to: http://ericae.net/derc.htm.
  • For a fee through the ERIC Document Reproduction Service (EDRS): http://edrs.com, service@edrs.com, or 1.800.443.ERIC. (no longer available)

The full text of citations beginning with an EJ number (for example, EJxxxxxx) is available for a fee from:

ERIC Search Terms Used

sensory integration

AND

disabilities! OR special education

EJ597207 EC623600
Is Sensory Integration Effective for Children with Language-Learning Disorders?: A Critical Review of the Evidence.
Griffer, Mona R.
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools; v30 n4 p393-400 Oct 1999
ISSN: 0161-1461
Document Type: INFORMATION ANALYSES (070); JOURNAL ARTICLES (080)
Language: English
First this article reviews the research pertaining to treatment efficacy of sensory integration therapy for children with language-learning disorders and academic difficulties. Second, it considers the perspectives from which various researchers and clinicians view language disorders and third, it discusses parameters for evaluating efficacy studies and the clinical use of sensory integration.
Descriptors: *Intervention; *Language Impairments; *Outcomes of Treatment; *Sensory Integration; *Therapy; Children; Evaluation Methods; Learning Disabilities

ED452624 EC308381
The Effect of Sensory Integration Treatment on Children with Multiple Disabilities.
Din, Feng S.; Lodato, Donna M.
2001
16 p. Note: Paper presented at the Annual Conference of the Eastern Educational Research Association (24th, Hilton Head Island, SC, February 14-17, 2001).
EDRS Price MF01/PC01 Plus Postage.
Document Type: RESEARCH REPORTS (143); CONFERENCE PAPERS (150)
Geographic Source: U.S.; Illinois
Six children with multiple disabilities (ages 5 to 8) participated in this evaluation of the effect of sensory integration treatment on sensorimotor function and academic learning. The children had cognitive abilities ranging from sub-average to significantly sub-average, three were non-ambulatory, one had severe behavioral problems, and each displayed characteristics of sensory integrative dysfunction including tactile dysfunction, proprioceptive dysfunction, and vestibular dysfunction. The sensory integration treatment, developed with an occupational therapist, included individual activities (such as daily massage), group activities, and individual seat work. Treatment was provided for 50 minutes daily for 9 weeks. Although a statistically significant gain on a measure of sensorimotor function was found, these gains did not result in notable improvement in academic learning or sensorimotor function as observed by the teacher.
Descriptors: *Multiple Disabilities; *Outcomes of Treatment; *Sensory Integration; *Sensory Training; *Therapy; Academic Achievement; Children; Mental Retardation; Perceptual Motor Learning; Primary Education

EJ569749 CE533255
The Relationship of Sensory Integrative Development to Achievement in Elementary Students: Four-Year Longitudinal Patterns.
Parham, L. Diane
Occupational Therapy Journal of Research; v18 n3 p105-27 Sum 1998
ISSN: 0276-1599
Document Type: JOURNAL ARTICLES (080); RESEARCH REPORTS (143)
Measures of sensory integration were applied to 32 learning-disabled and 35 nondisabled elementary students. Sensory integration was significantly related to school achievement both concurrently and predictively over a four-year period, even when controlling for intelligence. A particularly strong link between praxis and arithmetic achievement is evident.
Descriptors: *Academic Achievement; *Elementary School Students; *Learning Disabilities; *Perceptual Motor Coordination; *Sensory Integration; Arithmetic; Elementary Education; Tables (Data)

EJ581814 EC621146
New Angles on Motor and Sensory Coordination in Learning Disabilities.
Goldey, Ellen S.
Learning Disabilities: A Multidisciplinary Journal; v9 n2 p65-71 Sum 1998
Document Type: INFORMATION ANALYSES (070); JOURNAL ARTICLES (080); CONFERENCE PAPERS (150)
ISSN: 1046-6819
Provides an overview of presentations that were included in the Medical Symposium at the 1998 Learning Disabilities Association conference. The symposium addressed vestibular control and eye movement, postural sway and balance, cerebellar dysfunction, the role of the frontal lobe, developmental coordination disorder, and sensory integration intervention therapy.
Descriptors: *Eye Movements; *Human Posture; *Learning Disabilities; *Motor Development; *Psychomotor Skills; *Sensory Integration; Adults; Children; Motor Reactions; Neurological Impairments; Therapy

EJ655490 EC630981
Asperger Syndrome and Sensory Processing: A Conceptual Model and Guidance for Intervention Planning.
Dunn, Winnie; Saiter, Jessica; Rinner, Louann
Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities; v17 n3 p172-85 Fall 2002
ISSN: 1088-3576
Document Type: INFORMATION ANALYSES (070); JOURNAL ARTICLES (080); RESEARCH REPORTS (143)
This article discusses sensory processing concepts and their application to children with Asperger syndrome (AS). Basic characteristics of the sensory systems are outlined, a model for sensory processing is described, and a summary of data supporting the model in work with children with AS is presented. Case studies are included.
vv Descriptors: *Asperger Syndrome; *Environmental Influences; *Sensory Experience; *Sensory Integration; *Student Characteristics; *Tactual Perception; Case Studies; Educational Environment; Elementary Secondary Education; Family Environment; Intervention; Perceptual Motor Coordination; Symptoms (Individual Disorders); Visual Perception

EJ632510 EC628085
Handwriting Club: Using Sensory Integration Strategies To Improve Handwriting.
Keller, Melissa
Intervention in School and Clinic; v37 n1 p9-12 Sep 2001
ISSN-1053-4512
Document Type: NON-CLASSROOM USE (055); JOURNAL ARTICLES (080)
This article describes all the steps and materials necessary to organize and conduct a handwriting club that provides direct instruction in handwriting combined with sensory integration activities. Typical club session format, sample activities, the promotion of social skills, handwriting strategies, and external stimulants are discussed.
Descriptors: *Clubs; *Disabilities; *Handwriting; *Sensory Integration; *Social Development; *Writing Improvement; Elementary Secondary Education; Extracurricular Activities; Interpersonal Competence; Learning Activities; Writing Instruction

EJ611257 EC625421
Unusual Sensory Sensitivities in Autism: A Possible Crossroads.
Talay-Ongan, Ayshe; Wood, Kara
PUBLICATION_DATE: 2000
International Journal of Disability, Development and Education; v47 n2 p201-12 Jun 2000
ISSN: 1034-912X
Document Type: JOURNAL ARTICLES (080); RESEARCH REPORTS (143)
A questionnaire was developed and administered to 30 young children with autism and a control group to explore sensory hyper- and hypo-sensitivities. Significant differences were found between groups across all (auditory, tactile, visual, gustatory, and vestibular) domains. Findings are interpreted within the framework of theory of mind and joint attention deficit, as well as psychodynamic hypotheses for autism.
Descriptors: *Autism; *Neurological Organization; *Psychological Patterns; *Sensory Integration; Attention Deficit Disorders; Questionnaires; Stimulation; Theories; Theory Practice Relationship; Young Children
Identifiers: Theory of Mind

EJ591242 EC623024
Autism during Infancy: A Retrospective Video Analysis of Sensory-Motor and Social Behaviors at 9-12 Months of Age.
Baranek, Grace T.
Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders; v29 n3 p213-24 Jun 1999
ISSN-0162-3257
Document Type: JOURNAL ARTICLES (080); RESEARCH REPORTS (143)
Retrospective analysis of videotape recordings taken at 9 to 12 months of 11 children with autism, 10 with developmental disabilities, and 11 typically developing children found that nine behavioral items, in combination, discriminated the three groups 94 percent of the time. Results support early identification of autism and that infant assessment should include sensory processing/sensory-motor functions in addition to social responses.
Descriptors: *Autism; *Early Identification; *Evaluation Methods; *Sensory Integration; Behavior Patterns; Infants; Perceptual Motor Learning; Videotape Recordings

EJ589493 EC622661
Auditory Integration Training: A Double-Blind Study of Behavioral and Electrophysiological Effects in People with Autism.
Edelson, Stephen M. and Others.
Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities; v14 n2 p73-81 Sum 1999
Document Type: JOURNAL ARTICLES (080); RESEARCH REPORTS (143)
Audience: Researchers
Nineteen individuals with autism either listened to auditory integration training processed music or unprocessed music for 20 half-hour sessions. A significant decrease in Aberrant Behavior Checklist Scores was observed in the experimental group at the 30-month follow-up assessment. In addition, three experimental subjects but no controls showed a dramatic improvement in their auditory event-related brain potential at the P300 amplitude.
Descriptors: *Auditory Perception; *Autism; *Music Therapy; *Sensory Integration; Adults; Behavior Change; Behavior Problems; Children; Followup Studies; Intervention; Neurology; Outcomes of Treatment

EJ634894 EC628357
The Use of 'Snoezelen' as Multisensory Stimulation with People with Intellectual Disabilities: A Review of the Research.
Hogg, James and Others.
Research in Developmental Disabilities; v22 n5 p353-72 Sep-Oct 2001
ISSN: 0891-4222
Document Type: INFORMATION ANALYSES (070); JOURNAL ARTICLES (080)
A research review on the use of Snoezelen (multisensory training) with people with mental retardation demonstrates a wide range of positive outcomes, though there is little evidence of generalization even to the immediate post-Snoezelen environment. The issue of staff attitudes and the place of Snoezelen in facilitating positive interactions is addressed.
Descriptors: *Behavior Modification; *Mental Retardation; *Multisensory Learning; *Program Effectiveness; *Sensory Integration; *Teaching Methods; Adults; Children; Educational Environment; Leisure Time; Perceptual Motor Learning; Relaxation Training

ED389104 EC304389
Dealing with Sensory Integrative Dysfunction in the Classroom: A Guide for Early Elementary Teachers.
Chan, Christina
25 Feb 1995
22p.; Paper presented at the American University College of Arts and Sciences Student Research Conference (Washington, DC, February 25, 1995).
EDRS Price - MF01/PC01 Plus Postage.
Document Type: NON-CLASSROOM MATERIAL (055); CONFERENCE PAPER (150)
Geographic Source: U.S.; District of Columbia
Target Audience: Teachers; Practitioners
This paper offers teachers basic information about sensory integration and suggests strategies for managing classrooms which include children with sensory integrative dysfunction. The first section looks at what sensory integration is, noting especially the roles of the three "near senses": the vestibular system, the proprioceptive system, and the tactile system. Next, sensory integrative dysfunction in children is considered, including the hyporesponsive child and the hyperresponsive child. Specific ways that sensory integration dysfunction can become a problem in the classroom are considered, including problems with peers, with controlling aggression, with motor planning, and with maintaining alertness. Suggestions for classroom management while managing a child with sensory integrative dysfunction are offered, including suggestions for setting up the classroom, managing instructional time, and being flexible in teaching styles. Teachers are urged to seek the support of colleagues, administrators, parents, and providers of support services.
Descriptors: Attention Control; *Classroom Techniques; Early Childhood Education; *Perceptual Impairments; Perceptual Motor Learning; *Sensory Integration

EJ546008 EC616552
The Impact of Sensory Processing Abilities on the Daily Lives of Young Children and Their Families: A Conceptual Model.
Dunn, Winnie
Infants and Young Children, v9 n4 p23-35 Apr 1997
ISSN: 0896-3746
Document Type: JOURNAL ARTICLE (080); PROJECT DESCRIPTION (141)
Describes a proposed model for considering sensory processing as an important factor in young children's performance. Discusses ways the model can be used to provide a framework for understanding various patterns of behavior; identify disabilities (poor registration, sensitivity to stimuli, sensation seeking, and sensation avoiding); and develop intervention strategies.
Descriptors: Child Behavior; *Disability Identification; *Intervention; Models; *Perceptual Impairments; *Performance Factors; *Sensory Experience; *Sensory Integration; Young Children

EJ491066 EC609596
The Effectiveness of Sensory Integration Activities on Language Processing in Preschoolers Who Are Sensory and Language Impaired.
Fallon, Moira A.; And Others
Infant-Toddler Intervention: The Transdisciplinary Journal, v4 n3 p235-43 Sep 1994
ISSN: 1053-5586
Document Type: JOURNAL ARTICLE (080); RESEARCH REPORT (143)
Target Audience: Researchers
Nine children participated in one of three groups: children diagnosed as both sensory and language impaired, children diagnosed as language impaired, and normally developing children matched for language level. Sensory integration activities prior to language intervention resulted in significant changes on the Battelle Developmental Inventory for the children diagnosed as both sensory and language impaired.
Descriptors: Child Development; Hearing Impairments; Intervention; *Language Acquisition; *Language Impairments; *Language Processing; *Multiple Disabilities; *Sensory Integration; Sequential Learning; Visual Impairments; Young Children
Identifiers: Battelle Developmental Inventory

EJ524426 EC613620
Brief Report: Response to National Institutes of Health Report.
Grandin, Temple
Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, v26 n2 p185-87 Apr 1996
ISSN: 0162-3257
Document Type: JOURNAL ARTICLE (080); POSITION PAPER (120)
Target Audience: Researchers
An individual with autism addresses the need for more research on sensory problems in autism. Difficulties that autistic individuals have with sensory processing, attention shifting, and sensory mixing between modalities are noted. Preliminary evidence of the effectiveness of sensory integration therapy is noted.
Descriptors: Attention Control; *Autism; *Perceptual Impairments; Research Needs; Sensory Experience; *Sensory Integration; Sensory Training

EJ558673 PS527544
Screening for Sensory Integration Dysfunction. Caught Two, But One Got Away.
Kranowitz, Carol Stock
Child Care Information Exchange, n119 p80-83 Jan-Feb 1998
ISSN: 0164-8527
Document Type: JOURNAL ARTICLE (080); PROJECT DESCRIPTION (141)
Describes the use of a screening program to identify possible sensory integration dysfunction. Describes characteristics of sensory integration dysfunction. Updates case studies of three children now in sixth grade who were screened for sensory integration dysfunction in nursery school to illustrate the use of the screening program, evaluation, and therapy.
Descriptors: Case Studies; *Day Care; Intermediate Grades; Occupational Therapy; *Perceptual Impairments; Preschool Education; *Screening Tests; *Sensory Integration; Special Needs Students

ED399705 EC305036
Improving Maladaptive Behaviors Using Sensory Integration Techniques.
Shuman, Theresa
May 1996
39p.; Master's Action Research Project, St. Xavier University.
EDRS Price - MF01/PC02 Plus Postage.
Document Type: DISSERTATION (040); PROJECT DESCRIPTION (141)
Geographic Source: U.S.; Illinois
A study examined the use of sensory integration techniques to reduce the maladaptive behaviors that interfered with the learning of nine high school students with mental impairments attending a special school. Maladaptive behaviors identified included rocking, toe walking, echolalia, resistance to change, compulsive behaviors, aggression, tantrums, monotone speech, and gagging. A literature review examined the relationship between the senses and behavior of those with disabilities; the functions of nervous system and sensory integrative processes; and various methods of behavioral intervention including aversives, drugs, megavitamins, diets, psychotherapy, animal therapy, auditory integration therapy, and sensory integration techniques. The intervention involved the use of various sensory integration techniques including auditory/vestibular, visual, olfactory, gustatory, tactility, speech/communication, behavior, and balance techniques. After the intervention, the teacher reported a decrease in maladaptive behaviors and increase in student enjoyment of the activities. Appendices include observation checklists, a caretaker questionnaire, and the parental consent form.
Descriptors: *Behavior Modification; *Behavior Problems; Educational Strategies; High Schools; Instructional Effectiveness; *Intervention; *Mental Retardation; *Sensory Integration; Sensory Training; Special Schools; *Training Methods

EJ558921 SO529619
Don't Take Touch for Granted: An Interview with Susan Lederman.
Verry, Rene
Teaching of Psychology, v25 n1 p64-67 1998
ISSN: 0098-6283
Document Type: JOURNAL ARTICLE (080); PROJECT DESCRIPTION (141)
Target Audience: Practitioners; Researchers; Teachers
Presents an interview with Susan Lederman that contains a fascinating and informative overview of the recent developments in neuropsychological research concerning the sense of touch. Discusses the physiological processes that support this sensory experience and reveals them to be much more flexible, intricate, and adaptive than previously thought. Discusses classroom applications.
Descriptors: Clinical Psychology; Habituation; Higher Education; *Neuropsychology; Pain; *Perceptual Development; Psychologists; Psychology; *Psychophysiology; Researchers; Sensory Experience; Sensory Integration; *Social Science Research; Stimuli; *Tactile Stimuli; *Tactual Perception

EJ514763 EC612386
Integrated Treatment Approaches for Young Children with Multisystem Developmental Disorder.
Wieder, Serena
Infants and Young Children, v8 n3 p24-34 Jan 1996
ISSN: 0896-3746
Document Type: JOURNAL ARTICLE (080); POSITION PAPER (120)
An approach to the diagnosis of pervasive developmental disorders is presented that considers the difficulties in relationships and communication secondary to sensory and motor processing deficits. These difficulties are conceptualized as Multisystem Developmental Disorder (MSDD), and case vignettes illustrate typical patterns of MSDD and intervention options.
Descriptors: *Behavior Patterns; Case Studies; *Clinical Diagnosis; Cognitive Processes; Communication Skills; *Disabilities; Disability Identification; *Early Intervention; Family Involvement; Interpersonal Relationship; Sensory Integration; *Symptoms (Individual Disorders); Young Children Identifiers: *Multisystem Developmental Disorder; *Pervasive Developmental Disorders
 

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