May 1, 2017

Child Therapy: Sensory Integration Therapy

Lumiere Children’s Therapy offers a therapeutic preschool to prepare children of all developmental needs for their academic future. Throughout the week, students will receive sensory, fine motor, gross motor, and speech therapy. Sensory integration therapy is used daily and often takes place in the clinic’s sensory gym. Sensory integration can impact many children struggling with Sensory Processing Disorder. To better understand sensory processing disorder, read our blog post here

What is Sensory integration therapy?

Sensory integration (SI) therapy is a sensory intervention frequently utilized by occupational therapists. Sensory integration is a play-based therapy used to change how the brain reacts to touch, sound, sight, and movement. SI therapy helps the brain’s nervous system better process sensory information through play activities and other therapy techniques such as weighted vests and brushing. Play activities include riding a scooter board, swinging, sitting on an exercise ball, squeezing between exercise pads or pillows, and other similar activities.

Sensory integration targets vestibular, tactile, and proprioceptive senses of the body. Sensory processing disorders can be caused by an imbalance of one or all of these senses. Common signs of a sensory processing disorder are listed below the corresponding sense.

1. Vestibular senses aid in movement or balance. It gives the sense of the body in space.

Common signs:

  • Slouching or leaning on desks or tables.
  • Difficulty maintaining balance while running, walking, skipping, etc.
  • Fearful of movement activities such as playgrounds, swings, and stairs.
  • Fidgeting often or constantly moving.

2. Our tactile sense is how we interpret the information received from the receptors on our skin. It helps us detect textures, temperature, and pain.

Common signs:

  • Avoids getting hands or face dirty.
  • Avoids messy activities such as finger-painting, play dough, and messy foods.
  • Extreme reactions to brushing teeth, bathing, and haircuts.
  • Sensitive to certain fabric of clothing or aversion to tags on clothes.
  • Excessive touching of people and objects.

3. The proprioceptive system helps coordinate our body in order to play or achieve gross motor skills. The proprioceptive sense helps us become aware of our body parts relative to one another. It directs the appropriate force for different activities such as the force needed to lift a heavy box verses the force needed to crack an egg.

Common signs:

  • Coloring with too much/ too little pressure.
  • Playing aggressively with others.
  • Constantly crashing into furniture or the ground.
  • Poor body awareness.
  • Low tone or energy.

What are weighted vests?

A weighted vest is a heavy vest that typically has 10% of a person’s weight evenly distributed throughout the vest. Research has found that weighted vest increases one’s attention. Weighted vest provide a calming effect due to the deep pressure it provides. Although research is still limited on the topic, the deep pressure sends a calming feeling to the part of the brain that prompts a fight-or-flight response. Therefore, it can help a child become more relaxed and focused during activities in sensory integration therapy, home activities, and/or school.

What is brushing?

The Wilbarger Deep Pressure and Proprioceptive Technique (DPPT) & Oral Tactile Technique (OTT) is a specific sensory treatment that uses a pattern of stimulation from a special type of brush with gentle joint compressions. It is found to facilitate the relationship between the mind-brain-body processes. Some benefits of DPPT include smooth transitions between activities, increased attention, and decrease of tactile defensiveness.

Next week on the blog, we will discuss the benefits of sensory integration therapy for children diagnosed with Autism. For more information on sensory integration therapy or our therapeutic preschool, contact Lumiere Children’s Therapy.



Benefits of a Weighted Vest for a Child with Autism. (n.d.). Retrieved April 27, 2017, from   https://www.nationalautismresources.com/benefits-of-a-weighted-vest-for-a-child-with-autism/

Braley, P. (2016, May 25). Sensory Processing: What is Proprioception? Retrieved April 27, 2017, from http://theinspiredtreehouse.com/sensory-processing-proprioception/

Heffron, C. (2017, April 17). Sensory Integration: Red Flags and When to Get Help. Retrieved April 27, 2017, from http://theinspiredtreehouse.com/sensory-integration-red-flags-get-help/

Heffron, C. (2016, April 24). SENSORY PROCESSING: THE TACTILE SYSTEM. Retrieved April 27, 2017, from http://theinspiredtreehouse.com/sensory-processing-tactile-system/

King , L. J. (n.d.). Sensory Integration Therapy . Retrieved April 26, 2017, from   https://www.autism.com/symptoms_sensory_king

The 7 Senses. (n.d.). Retrieved April 26, 2017, from https://pathways.org/topics-of-development/7-senses/

Therapeutic Brushing Techniques. (n.d.). Retrieved April 27, 2017, from http://www.ot-innovations.com/clinical-practice/sensory-modulation/therapeutic-brushing-techniques/

Contact Us

Premier Child Therapy Services in Chicago, IL

Contact Blog Form
First name
Last name
Areas of Interest