University of Natural Sciences and Humanities (POLAND)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2016 Proceedings
Publication year: 2016
Pages: 3777-3784
ISBN: 978-84-608-5617-7
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2016.1904
Conference name: 10th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 7-9 March, 2016
Location: Valencia, Spain
Jean Ayres' Sensory Integration method is an innovative approach supporting the development of neurological processes in the brain. It is a system of exercises designed to teach the brain how to respond properly to external stimuli. The method targets children not only with nervous system disorders but also with emotional disorders resulting from a constant feeling of anxiety and a negative self-image. It may also be applied as a preventive activity when working with normally developing children. The method is referred to as the scientific play therapy. The child does exercises and plays games involving physical movements that enhance the quality of sending and organising stimuli, or the functioning of sensory systems in general.

The claim that lies at the heart of Sensory Integration theory is that highly complicated cerebral cortex functions, such as visual and auditory perception, speech, and the ability to read and write, depend on proper development and integration of the core perceptual systems: tactile, proprioceptive, vestibular, and those developing late, visual and auditory. An undisturbed development allows the child to achieve sensory integration around the age of nine.

Good visual and auditory perception, of immense significance in the educational process, and other functions of the cerebral cortex may develop only on the basis of integrated information received from the above mentioned core systems. They affect proper perception of one's body, i.e. body diagram, bilateral integration, planning of body movements, concentration and emotional balance. The skills that are the final products of sensory integration include amongst others: the ability to focus, organise sensations, self-acceptance, self-control, abstract thinking, and the ability to learn. They are indispensible to the child for proper functioning on an everyday basis in pre-school, family, and later in school and as an adult.

None of the above functions matures in isolation. They do not develop at one, specific age, either. The child works on them during his normal activity throughout childhood, especially when playing. The process of integration is continuous: the achievement of one level allows one to develop abilities at the following level; every weakness, lack of development or experience in the first three stages may lead to disorders in the final stage.

When the brain and the whole nervous system cannot integrate information received from the senses undisturbed, we talk about sensory integration dysfunction. If information reaching the brain is not adequately processed, difficulties with motor abilities, perception, play, activities of daily living, behaviour and with learning may arise. Exercises are not to teach the child certain skills but rather to streamline the core sensory systems and nervous processes on which the skills are founded.

The article present a realization of the Sensory Integration method in pre-school children.
Sensory Integration, method, pre-school, development.