Importance of sensory system in physical therapy activities

Sensory Integration is a term that describes the brain’s ability to take in information from the senses, organize it, and respond to it during experiences of daily life. It is a process that helps mature the brain and mature the physical body. The three primary sensory systems are the tactile system (our ability to touch something and comprehend it, including the sense of pain and temperature), the vestibular system (located in the inner ear and involved in eye-hand coordination balance and coordination) and the proprioceptive system (involved in determining spacial relationships with our body and the world around us).

The ability to take in sensory input and organize it is critical in your child’s ability to relate to their environment.

It is vital that your child have the ability to process sensory input as they  grow and learn in their environments such as school, playground, community, etc. Children that struggle with sensory integration can have difficulty concentrating at school, trouble regulating emotions in multi-sensory environments and difficulty achieving gross motor skills due to sensory aversions or sensory seeking.

Sensory integration and the sensory system play a large role in physical therapy practice. For example, toe walking is a common diagnoses seen in children which can be caused by a musculoskeletal deficit, balance deficit or sensory issue (or all three). Physical therapists work to integrate the sensory system when it limits function or gross motor skill attainment. Our physical therapists always incorporate sensory activities when appropriate to provide a holistic approach to treatment and rehabilitation.

Mount Pleasant Pediatric Therapy clinic and therapists provide a multi-sensory environment which allows your child to develop a skillset that will seamlessly translate to the real world (school, playground, grocery stores). Our clinic has a variety of different rooms with sensory swing, lights, textures and resources that cater to your child’s needs. Our therapists also provide recommendations and education for parents and caregivers regarding sensory input at home and ways to give your child what they need.