Our mind and body are superbly interwoven to meet the demands of today’s world. The feelings, thoughts and actions we experience occur through the complex actions of our brain. How we process environmental and internal information has a major impact on our feelings, thoughts and actions. The slightest change in our brain processes can influence how we manage daily living skills, academic progress and social interaction. Sensory integration dysfunction is one example of what can go wrong in the processes of the brain. This paper will explain sensory integration dysfunction to the point of understanding the nature of this unseen (and often misdiagnosed) disability, as well as its psychological, emotional, learning and social effects on the individual.
Sensory Integration Dysfunction (SID) is a neurological disorder pioneered 40 years ago by A. Jean Ayres, Ph.D., OTR. Dr. Ayres developed the sensory integration theory to explain the relationship between behavior and brain functioning. As described in Williams & Shellenberger’s work entitled, How Does Your Engine Run? A Leader’s Guide to The Alert Program for Self-Regulation, “Countless bits of sensory information enter our brain at every moment, not only from our eyes and ears, but also from every place in our bodies” (1-2). The brain must organize and integrate all of these sensations if a person is to move and learn normally.