Sensory Integration Therapy
The therapy employing the Sensory Integration method looks like fun, but it is ‘scientific’ fun through which the nervous system and the brain learn how to correctly respond to external stimuli. The atmosphere of fun favours the child’s involvement in the activity and the achievement of better and faster progress. Therapeutic classes take place once or twice a week (depending on the child’s needs) and last for 50 minutes. They are conducted by a qualified sensory integration therapist.
During specially selected motor play activities taking place in a room specially adapted and fitted with proper equipment for the stimulation of the vestibular, proprioceptive, touch, sight, hearing, and smell systems, the child naturally makes up for the deficits within individual sensory apparatuses.
The SI therapy is based on the stimulation of the sense of balance during various play activities conducted with the help of suspended equipment (swings, platforms, trapezes, climbing frames, rollers). There are many exercises and play activities stimulating surface and deep feeling, the sense of sight, hearing and smell.
During the classes the child is encouraged and guided to perform activities leading to minimisation of their developmental deficits. The degree of difficulty of these activities is gradually increasing with the progress the child makes. They cannot be too easy or too difficult. SI therapy does not accept failures, and every exercise should end with success. Another important aspect of this therapy is the patient’s motivation. It plays a huge role when selecting activities. The therapist allows for great freedom in the selection of games and exercises to some children, while others are offered activities specially selected for them. The children are encouraged to initiate and actively participate in play activities. The Sensory Integration therapy is usually pleasant to the child, but also requires great commitment and sometimes a lot of effort. The therapist’s role is to skilfully encourage and provoke the child to be active even when certain kinds of play activities and exercises evoke their dislike or fear.