R.S.: 06/2021/03519     Col.: 31/263

Sensory Integration brought to the Sea

Sensory Integration is a therapeutic approach that helps children process and organize sensory information effectively. In this article, we will explore how Sensory Integration can be applied in natural environments such as the sea and the beach

Sensory Integration brought to the Sea

Sensory Integration is a concept developed by occupational therapist Jean Ayres since the 1960s. Ayres defined sensory integration as the neurological process that organizes the sensations of the body and the environment to be used effectively in daily life.

Interventions based on sensory integration do not only take place in indoor spaces but also in natural environments. The sea and the beach offer a rich environment with sensory stimuli that can be used to work with children who have developmental challenges, especially those with sensory integration disorders. Integrating interventions in a marine environment can provide a unique and beneficial experience for both children and their families.

According to the specific needs of each child, the emphasis can be placed on different aspects of the environment and the activity.

Both the sea and the beach offer proprioceptive, vestibular, and tactile stimuli in many forms. Depending on the therapist’s interpretation, these stimuli can be used according to the child’s needs. Not only do we work on these aspects, but there are also many opportunities to work on praxis (the ability to conceive, plan, and execute a sequence of steps to achieve a specific goal. This involves the ability to think of an action, organize it, and then carry it out effectively).

What makes this environment special and authentic are the natural conditions such as wind, tides, and currents, as well as the people who can share the space and other natural factors. This environment requires continuous adaptation, but it also offers the opportunity to work on praxis, problem-solving, etc.

For the therapist, this requires some flexibility and the ability to interpret the possibilities, but the benefits can be not only adaptive responses, providing the just right challenge for the child, but also a fantastic link to activities with purpose in an environment where the child moves in their daily life.

For Beginners in Ayre´s Sensory Integration

For those who are beginners in the topic of sensory integration according to Jean Ayres, here is a brief explanation of the most significant sensory systems in this model.

Proprioceptive System

The proprioceptive system is responsible for providing information about the position and movement of different parts of the body. It is composed of sensory receptors located in joints, muscles, and ligaments that send constant information to the brain about the position of the body in relation to the space. This helps us know how each part of the body is related to the environment and allows us to organize our movements.

Tactile System

The tactile system is responsible for providing information about the texture, temperature, and pressure of objects we touch. It is composed of sensory receptors located in the skin that send information to the brain about tactile sensations. This allows us to recognize and distinguish different textures, temperatures, and pressures. At the same time it is very important to protect us, since it is the first border between us and the environment,

Vestibular System

The vestibular system is responsible for providing information about movement and gravity. It is composed of sensory receptors located in the inner ear that send information to the brain about movement and the position of the body in space. This allows us to maintain balance, coordinate movements, and orient ourselves in the environment.

Integration of Sensory Systems

In the sensory integration approach, these sensory systems work together to provide a complete and precise understanding of the environment and the body. The sensory information collected by these systems is processed in the brain and used to generate adaptive and coordinated responses. It is important to note that sensory integration not only focuses on sensory information but also on the central nervous system’s ability to process and organize that information effectively. When sensory systems function correctly, we can develop skills and competencies that allow us to interact with the environment effectively and coordinately.

I will provide more in-depth information on the different sensory systems in the future.

Compartir: