Sensory integration relates to the ability of the nervous system to organize and modulate certain sensory functions, in order for us to function in everyday situations. According to Jean Ayres, an occupational therapist and an educational psychologist, sensory integration is “the organization of sensation for use.”

There are three critical sensory systems:

  1. Our vestibular system provides us our sense of balance and movement
  2. Our proprioceptive system, our muscle and joint sense, provides us an internal awareness of where our joints and muscles are at any given point, and
  3. Our tactile system helps us perceive the environment and respond with protective reactions.

Sensory integration dysfunction occurs when a child has difficulties interpreting incoming sensations to the vestibular, proprioceptive and/or tactile systems.

Learn more about the common signs of sensory integration dysfunction in children.