Sensorimotor integration refers to brain networks that process incoming sensory information and generate motor responses. Sensory networks and motor networks are highly interconnected. The way that we process sensory information affects our movements, and how we move in the world affects our perception.
Social-Emotional Development and Self-Regulation
A child’s pattern of behavior is a reflection of the unique way the child is processing sensory information from the environment. Incoming sensory information is organized and integrated by sensory processing networks in the brain, which are intimately connected to networks that plan and execute motor output (movement). Sensory and motor networks are highly interconnected, and therapy to target one domain is most effective when combined with techniques and strategies to target the other.
Neuroscience research shows that proper sensorimotor integration creates a foundation of stability and predictability in a child’s experience of the outside world. These networks are, therefore, fundamental to social-emotional development and self-regulation.
Many different types of therapy can foster sensorimotor integration:
- Occupational therapy employs specific techniques for building a child’s foundation in sensory processing and integration, self-care, fine motor development, self-regulation, social-emotional development, and play.
- Physical therapy employs techniques to improve gross motor skills (large scale movements of the legs, arms, and trunk) and building strength, coordination, and endurance.
- Neurodevelopmental music therapy applies the tools of music (such as rhythm and intonation) to foster language, sensory integration, and motor planning and execution.
Our occupational, physical, and music therapists collaborate to determine the most effective strategies for each child. This allows for more rapid progress toward essential sensorimotor goals.
Sensorimotor Integration Opens the Path to Cognitive and Language Development
For some children, sensorimotor therapies are the most important types of therapy to begin immediately in the program. Gains in higher level areas, such as cognition and language, often emerge spontaneously once a child starts sensorimotor therapies.
Which sensorimotor therapies will benefit your child? To determine what your child's developing nervous system needs most, we employ a methodical step-by-step approach using gold standard assessments and, from there, we create a customized treatment program.