How We Can Help Sensory Integration

A brain stimulated with sensory messages both energizes and relaxes us. Since the ear is the most effective passageway for the transmission of sensory messages from the human body, it plays a key role in all physiological functions. However, the brain can develop defense mechanism especially from a traumatic experience or violent environment. How can sensory processing take place if sensory inputs are not successfully accommodated?

The Tomatis® Method actively works on the vestibule, the part of the inner ear that manages sensory integration, movement and coordination, sense of space (spatialisation) and direction, sequencing, planning, and organisation skills necessary in learning processes.

The ear-brain training works by stimulating the brain and body by producing specific frequencies of filtered/ gated music that enters the ear, by bone and air conduction, via the vestibular cranial nerve (brain stem) and then travels widely throughout the brain and the body.

Dr. Alfred Tomatis, Founder of the Tomatis® Method, believed that such stimulation activates the neural pathways involved in developing the nervous system keeping the brain alert to take on the information that reaches it.

> Do you notice that your child or someone you know cannot stand certain noises such as the sound of people chewing food, fireworks, dog barking, or babies’ crying?

> Is it hard for your child to keep his/her clothing on? Or irritable towards almost every kind of texture?

> Is he/she being picky with food and tends to spit or gag what he/she does not like?

>Does he/she usually prefer to be in the pitch dark and feels easily overwhelmed when exposed to lighted areas?

He/she may be struggling with sensory integration disorder.

Sensory integration is the processing ability of the brain to receive information from each of our senses harmoniously. The disorder happens when the brain cannot effectively do so. Meaning, some of the information we receive from our environment are not or less perceived and interpreted by the brain resulting in either avoidance of stimuli (i.e. staying away from any form of noise, refusing to be hugged) or unpleasant behaviour (i.e. screaming, crying).

People with sensory integration disorder are vulnerable to almost anything they encounter because their senses function very well but their brain does not.

So why does the brain resist the information?

It does not voluntarily do so; in fact, it is because the brain lacks the ability to do it at all. They lack the ability to process (perceive-analyse-interpret) all these sensory inputs and thus, do not respond correctly to situations whether at home or in school. Children with Global Developmental Delays, Autism, Down Syndrome, Learning Difficulties are the ones mainly struggling with sensory integration disorder.

Children and adults with developmental disabilities such as autism may possibly have a sensory integration disorder. It is either one or two of the senses are either over-reactive or under-reactive to stimulation. This is why people with autism have behaviours such as spinning, rocking, and hand-flapping.

Receptors for the sensory inputs are found in the peripheral nervous system but it is believed that the dysfunction roots on the central nervous system–the brain. Nevertheless, any dysfunction in the brain and body manifests itself through the over- or under-responsiveness to sensory input. Children may also fluctuate between such extremes. Learning difficulties may also arise from this disorder. They may also become impulsive, easily distractible, frustrated, aggressive, or withdrawn from social interaction/ isolation.

Children with sensory integration disorder have difficulties in processing incoming sensations. If left untreated, daily activities can be very frustrating. So, here are the signs of sensory integration issues:

  1. Fine and gross motor skills
  2. Poor academic achievement
  3. Extreme activity level; impulsivity/ lack of self-control
  4. Immature social skills
  5. Clumsy
  6. Disorganization
  7. Poor hand-eye coordination
  8. Overly or under reactive to sensory inputs
  9. Poor attention and memory
  10. Disruptive behaviour

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The Tomatis® Method is definitely the best gift to you or your child! Contact Françoise Nicoloff or any of the Tomatis® professionals in Australia to get started today!

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