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Janine Wiskind, MS, OTR/L
Atlanta and North Fulton
"I feel like I am hearing 5 people talking at one time. I can't concentrate. It hurts my ears."
Collin, 2nd grade

Sensory Integration: Sensory Modulation

Sensory Integration is the brain’s ability to understand, process, and effectively respond to sensory input. This is not an easy and natural task for everyone!

We have seven senses: taste, smell, sight, hearing, touch, vestibular (movement/body awareness) and proprioception (deep pressure). Our brains constantly receive sensory input, filter it, acknowledge what is important/unimportant, make sense of the information, and allow us to respond accordingly. We all have sensory preferences. One may prefer crunchy versus soft foods; one may twirl their hair or shake their leg when concentrating; one may prefer the TV at a lower volume when they're tired. We all have different tolerances for sensory input and we control our environments to help us remain functional.

But, for some, their sensory systems have too little/or too much tolerance for the sensory input and it creates dysfunction. Examples of this may be the child that only eats five kinds of foods; hides behind their parent’s leg watching all the children have fun at the park; or covers their ears in the cafeteria at school. Many of these children appear poorly behaved, shy, anti-social, impulsive or over-rambunctious, but it is their overwhelmed or anxious response to environmental situations that are enjoyable for others but stressful for them.

I will analyze your child's sensory system through the use of subjective and/or standardized (SIPT) measures. Together, we will then address the sensory dysfunction through treatment, education, and compensatory strategies

Sensory Integration: Praxis

Praxis is a fancy term related to a child’s ability to figure out what he wants to do and how to go about doing it. There are a few components to praxis. First, a child has to have an idea about what they want to do. Think about your child going to the playground or playing with lego. Do they have ideas? Can they make up a cool story about the spaceship they are boarding at the playground? Do they need to copy others? Do they stand and observe? After creating ideas, a child has to motor plan the task. He may know what he wants to do, but does he know how to do it? This is not always as simple as it seems. The third step then involves actually doing the task and then problem solving what changes need to be made. This concept of Praxis is very important in the development of your child.

Sensory Integration involves both sensory-modulation (keeping your sensory system balanced) and praxis. Determining which components are the problem is very important in treating the dysfunction

The Sensory Integration and Praxis Test (SIPT)

The Sensory Integration and Praxis Test (SIPT) by A. Jean Ayres is the most comprehensive occupational therapy evaluation of a child’s sensory systems. The test is designed for use with children between the ages of 4 years through 8 years 11 months. The SIPT measures the sensory integration processes that underlie learning and behavior. By showing you how children organize and respond to sensory input, the SIPT helps pinpoint specific organic problems associated with learning disabilities, emotional disorders, and minimal brain dysfunction.

The SIPT tests motor planning (praxis) components of the vestibular (movement), kinesthetic, tactile, and visual systems. The SIPT is an in-depth occupational therapy evaluation that can only be administered by a therapist who has gone through a rigorous training and certification process.

I will administer the SIPT to your child during the evaluation process if we feel it is necessary to analyze his sensory system further.
If your child has a diagnosis of Sensory Processing Disorder, ADHD, or Autism; if everything just seems too yucky, too itchy, and too loud; or if you wonder how he fearlessly throws himself into objects and seems not to notice that it should hurt, schedule your in-home consultation today.


        Schaaf, R.C, & Blanche, E.I. (2012). Emerging as leaders in autism research and practice . Using the data-driven intervention process. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 66 (5), 574-555.

       Blance, E.I., Reinoso, G., Change, M.C., & Bodison, G. (2012). Brief Report - proprioceptive processing difficulties among children with autism spectrum disorders and developmental disabilities. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 66, 621-624.

       Cosby, J., Johnston, S., & Dunn, M. (2010). Sensory processing disorders and social participation. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 64 (3), 462-473

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