Thursday, 29 November 2007

Sensory Integration Dysfunction

Yep a bit of science today. But don't be scared it is not to bad. Ok let's talk Sensory Integration.

When the information from the world comes into our brain through our eyes, ears and touch e.g.. It has to come together in the right place at the right time to form a proper picture of what is happening at this moment. When the information doesn't get integrated properly we don't get a good picture and therefore we can't respond properly. That's how learning disabilities can arise.

If you want a more detailed picture of what happens in the brain read my article Abilities and disabilities, a neurological cause. If you want to know even more read this book. You can read the 25th edition on the Internet. Sensory integration and the child from A. Jean Ayres.

This book is another excellent read. It is written by Sharon Heller PH.D and talks about the symptoms of Sensory Integration dysfunction (DSI); Sensory defensiveness (SD). People with this problem have a low threshold to sensory input en hear things to loud, see things too bright etc. It doesn't only happen in children with learning disabilities. About 15 to 20 % of the population has this problem. It runs in families but it can also be acquired through stress and trauma.

In the latter certain braincells get killed so the brain can't regulate sensory input anymore. For people with SD sounds, sights and/or touch are overwhelming. It exhausts and causes irritability. The emotions are involved because there is a connection between the place were sensory integration occurs (brainstem) and were our feelings are regulated (limbic system).

A child who is tactile defensive can't discriminate between good and bad touch. His fight or flight response goes of straight away when you touch him or her. Usually when somebody touches us a signal goes to the thinking part of the brain (frontal Lobes) which says; oh this is safe go on. In a tactile defensive child the alarm goes of, so it short cuts the thinking brain and goes straight to the limbic system and to the brainstem . He gets aggressive and stressed. It is very exhaustive that's why these people are tired easily. To much exposure to sounds sights etc causes sensory overload. The brain shuts down.

A person with sensory integrative dysfunction is usually a HSP. A highly sensitive person. He is more emotional than normal. Cries easily, gets depressed easily but also laughs easily and can easily attain an euphoria by music, falling in love etc. These people are usually the thinkers in our society. A very excellent positive book about this is written by

Elaine N. Aron Ph.D. The Highly sensitive Person.

If you suspect these problems, don't worry. If you adjust your life (yeh I know) you can live with it quite well. Although it can completely interfere with life when you have it to a high degree. This happens in people with autism. These people often shut down completely

Sometimes we retreat from the world not because we don't like people but because the world overwelms us.


  1. This is very interesting Marja. It must be very difficult to learn to live with this factor.
    I find noises can really annoy me, specifically if I dont know the source or the cause.
    There are so many conditions that, if you are not a sufferer, it can be very hard to be understand. All information is very enlightening.

  2. I love the picture on the top of your blob template. I assume that it is from New Zealnad? But I've never been to Lake Matheson, so I don't reall know. But is sure is a pretty picture. ~ jb///

  3. Hi Meggie yeh most people experience it a little bit The treshold for SDI people is however much lower than for others. It is interesting stuff because it teaches you how the brain works.

    Welcome IZ blogger. This beautiful picture is indeed from NZ. Lake Matheson is on the West Coast of the South Island. I think close to Hokatika. It is made by Arnoud van Tilburg, a Dutch person who made more amzing pictures of NZ

  4. Very interesting Marja. What a lot to deal with. Wow. :-) Your blog looks like a nice place to visit. I'll be back. It's also my home country, so there's an added attraction! lol

  5. Sometimes we retreat from the world not because we don't like people but because the world overwelms us.

    wow very nice quote Marja...

    P.S. thanks for blogrolling me.

  6. Marja my friend I have an award for you on my blog go and pick it up kiddo!!! Hope all is well with you and your family.

  7. Thanks for an interesting read. I'd rather have a knife in my stomach than a noise in my ears.

  8. shameless welcome dear kiwi Happy you like it here

    Thanks Rambler My pleasure i love reading your blog

    Missy all is well. Thanks so much

    Wayne than you know exactly what I am talking about.

  9. Sometimes we retreat from the world not because we don't like people but because the world overwelms us.

    Oh I know this feeling only too well!

  10. I am a very sensitive person,now I fear will it happen to me ?(god pls take care) :)

  11. Interesting article Marja. The working of our brains is very difficult and also difficult to understand. Even the doctors don't know everything about it.

    Informatief artikel Marja, en veel over onze hersenfuncties zijn moeilijk te begrijpen. Bijvoorbeeld onze ogen : wij denken dat wij door onze ogen zien maar eigenlijk wordt dit allemaal geregeld in onze hersenen. Zonder bepaalde functies daar zouden we allemaal dubbel zien.

    You are a woman with a great knowledge of almost everything.

  12. I love your learning disability article! My boys have SID and so do I. You explained it very well. Very very well!
    I wrote an article about it on special needs blog called It All Makes Sense. I've been dealing with the boys issues and didn't know how much I had it until they were diagnosed with it. I still have arguments with my hubby over it, trying to get him to Anyway, great resources and I've read a few of those books, definitely helpful and informative. Not just with explaining what it is but with dealing with sensory overload, meltdowns, etc...I just wrote a blog on meltdowns on my home educating journal one also...LOL It's the weather, makes us more aware of our SID I think!

  13. Steve In the modern world it is more overwelming than it ever was

    Deepak luckily you can't catch it like a desease. You are probably just emotional highly sensitive

    True doctors don't learn much neurology

    Thanks Jen I will see if I can find yours Would be interesting

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  15. Marja that was an excellent article!
    I think we all know someone who has this.
    Autism seems to be of epidemic proportions now, at least in the States.
    Very valuable information, and bless you for sharing.

  16. Very interesting post,Marja!It must be difficult to live and learn with this.

  17. philosophyoflife.wordpress.comSunday, December 02, 2007

    Awareness through education is all the more important and to be encouraged... Well Done.

  18. HI Marja....
    I am very interested in this topic, as I work with many individuals with LD and SDI.....I often wonder if some with Asperger's are misdiagnosed? Or perhaps they have both things happening.

    I am also reminded of the work I did years ago at a rehab centre for children with disabilities in Toronto. The kids I worked with were multiply handicapped, often functioning cognitively below the age of 2. I started a sensory stimulation program for bring opportunities to them to help expand their inner and outer worlds.....a bit of the opposite to what you are describing. It was the first of it's kind, my program, and is now a large part of the child life programs at that rehab centre. :)

    I will pick up this very intrigued!

    thank you.


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