Sensory Integration is the way in which our nervous system takes in and processes (organises) information from our senses of the world around us. Our senses include smell, taste, touch, vision, hearing, and movement (proprioception, and vestibular sensation). We need this information to be properly received and processed to be able to:
complete every day activities,
respond appropriately in social relationships,
to self-regulate ourselves behaviourally and emotionally
to concentrate in learning situations.
For example, we need to be able to accept (taste, smell, touch, texture) a wide variety of foods to have a healthy diet, and to be able to cope with sound and process it correctly to not be overwhelmed in a busy shopping mall or school classroom.
Our proprioceptive sense is our awareness of the input to our muscles and joints; it is needed for body awareness, coordination of body movements, graded muscle control, and self-regulation. Our vestibular sense is responsible for our balance and our sense of motion. It tells us which direction our body is moving, how fast we are moving, and how our body is oriented in space. Vestibular processing is important for balance, bilateral coordination, visual motor integration, and for maintaining an optimal level of arousal.