What is Sensory Integration Therapy for Children?

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Is your child struggling with sensory integration challenges? Sensory Integration Therapy (SIT) may be the answer you are looking for.  

As a parent, your child’s daily hurdles can be overwhelming, impacting both their development and your family dynamics. 

What is Sensory Integration Therapy?

Sensory Integration Therapy is a specialized approach designed to help children with sensory processing difficulties navigate their daily lives effectively. You will sometimes see it called SI Therapy or SIT.

SIT addresses sensory challenges through tailored interventions to enhance sensory processing, improve attention and focus, and promote self-regulation in children. 

This therapy helps children to better interpret and respond to sensory input, leading to more confident and calmer behavior.

Goals of Sensory Integration Therapy

Children with sensory processing issues receive too much or too little sensory input, making it hard to process the information correctly. As a result, they struggle to feel comfortable and secure, which impacts their ability to function well, learn, and interact with others.

My daughter had these sensory issues when she was eight:

  • Wearing socks with seams
  • Gripping a pencil too hard
  • Breaking pencil lead frequently because she pressed down too hard on paper
  • Not giving enough personal space when communicating with friends

The primary objective of Sensory Integration Therapy is to equip children with the necessary skills to process the incoming senses so that they thrive in their daily life. 

Here’s how:

  • Enhancing Sensory Processing: SIT helps children regulate their responses to sensory stimuli, promoting a sense of calm and control.


  • Improving Attention and Focus: By honing sensory processing abilities, children can actively participate in daily tasks and learning activities, boosting their overall quality of life.


  • Promoting Self-Regulation: This helps kids to manage their emotions and behaviors effectively, fostering independence and social interactions.


SIT provides strategies that children can adapt to navigate their sensory environments.


What are the Techniques for Sensory Integration?

Sensory Integration Therapy offers a range of methods and activities based on the unique needs of each child. Here are some commonly used techniques:

  • Sensory-Rich Play: Activities stimulating different senses, such as playing with textured materials or scented items.
  • Swinging Activities: Using swings to provide vestibular input, which helps in balancing and spatial awareness
  • Brushing Protocols: Gentle brushing on the skin to regulate sensory responses
  • Deep Pressure Activities: Techniques like bear hugs or weighted blankets to promote relaxation and body awareness.

Individualized therapy plans are crucial in SIT, ensuring that interventions are personalized to address specific sensory concerns and goals. By incorporating a variety of sensory experiences and activities, SIT creates a supportive environment for children to explore and engage with sensory input, fostering growth and development in a structured yet playful manner.

Benefits of Sensory Integration Therapy

Navigating the world with sensory processing issues can be overwhelming for children and challenging for parents. Sensory Integration Therapy (SIT) helps your child better process sensory information and enhances overall well-being. 

– Behavioral Improvements

Sensory Integration Therapy improves behaviors in children with sensory integration difficulties. By participating in SIT sessions, your child can benefit in the following ways:

  • Reduced Meltdowns: Imagine a day when loud noises or unexpected changes no longer trigger intense reactions. Your child can learn to cope better with sensory inputs through SIT, leading to fewer and less severe meltdowns.


  • Improved Self-Regulation: Self-regulation is about managing one’s own emotional and physical responses to sensory inputs. SIT helps children develop the skills to calm themselves when overwhelmed and react to sensory inputs in a balanced way.


  • Better Emotional Control: Children often struggle with emotional outbursts due to sensory overload. SIT can help your child to understand and manage their emotions, which leads to more effective and peaceful ways of expressing their feelings.


The result? A smoother daily routine for your family and a happier, more balanced child who can navigate their environment more easily.

– Enhanced Social Skills

Social skills are vital for your child’s development and self-esteem. Sensory Integration Therapy can significantly boost your child’s ability to connect with others:

  • Better Communication Skills: Communication isn’t just about speaking but also understanding and interpreting social cues. Through SIT, children can improve their ability to focus and respond appropriately in conversations.


  • Enhanced Peer Interactions: Engaging with peers can be challenging for children with sensory issues. SIT activities help children practice social interactions, making it easier for them to make friends and participate in group activities.


  • Increased Participation in Group Activities: Whether in a classroom or a playground, SIT prepares children to be more comfortable in social settings. This leads to more active participation and a sense of inclusion, which is essential for building a strong sense of community and belonging.


Imagine your child confidently playing with others, joining classroom discussions, and feeling at ease during family gatherings. The social skills developed through SIT enhance their interactions, confidence, and overall quality of life.

By incorporating different techniques into your child’s everyday life, you’re addressing their sensory integration challenges in a way that fits their specific needs. 

Choosing a Sensory Integration Therapist

Finding a qualified occupational therapist is crucial for parents of children with sensory processing disorders. The OT’s expertise and approach can significantly impact the therapy’s effectiveness and your child’s overall well-being.

Occupational Therapist Qualifications and Experience 

When searching for occupational therapists, it’s important to consider their qualifications and experience. Here are key aspects to look for:

  • Certification in Sensory Integration: Ensure the therapist has specialized training in sensory dysfunction techniques. Look for certifications in sensory integration theory from reputable organizations, such as the American Occupational Therapy Association.
  • Experience with Children: Seek a trained occupational therapist with a proven track record of working with children, especially those with sensory integration challenges. Experienced therapists are better equipped to understand and address the unique needs of each child.
  • Multidisciplinary Collaboration: A good therapist should be willing to work with other professionals involved in your child’s care, such as pediatricians, teachers, and other therapists. This holistic approach can enhance the therapy’s effectiveness.

When interviewing potential therapists, don’t hesitate to ask about their education, certifications, treatment techniques, and experience. You can also request references or talk to other parents about their experiences.

Parent Involvement in SI Therapy

Your involvement in your child’s sensory integration therapy work is crucial. Active participation and support can amplify the benefits of the therapy and ensure that progress made in sessions continues at home.

Here are ways you can enhance the therapy process:

  • Consistency in home activities: Implement sensory activities recommended by the therapist at home. Establishing routines and incorporating sensory-friendly practices can reinforce progress and create a supportive environment for your child.
  • Open communication with the your child’s therapist: Communicate openly with the therapist about your child’s progress, challenges, and achievements. Sharing observations about your child’s behavior outside therapy sessions can help the therapist tailor the most effective treatment plan.
  • Creating sensory-friendly environments: Adapt home environments to be sensory-friendly. This might include using calming colors, incorporating sensory tools like weighted blankets or fidget toys, and creating quiet spaces where your child can retreat when feeling overwhelmed.

By actively engaging in your child’s therapy and collaborating with the therapist, you play a vital role in enhancing your child’s sensory processing skills and overall development.

Choosing an experienced and trained sensory integration therapist and committing to active parental involvement can significantly improve your child’s therapy outcomes and quality of life.

Incorporating Sensory Integration Techniques at Home

By incorporating sensory integration techniques into your child’s daily routine creates a supportive environment that nurtures their sensory processing skills and overall well-being. 

Explore these practical strategies to make your home a sensory-friendly haven for your little one.

And check out these simple sensory activities for an autistic teenager. 


Monitoring Progress and Adjusting Therapy

As a parent, actively monitoring your child’s progress during therapy sessions is crucial in ensuring that the interventions are effective and tailored to their individual needs. By recognizing key indicators of progress and maintaining open communication with the therapist, you can facilitate adjustments to the therapy plan that support your child’s growth and success.

– Signs of Progress

Tracking your child’s progress in SI therapy involves observing subtle yet impactful changes in their behavior and interactions. Look out for these signs that indicate positive development:

  • Improved Behavior: Notice if your child displays more regulated behaviors in various settings, such as reduced sensory-related outbursts or increased ability to self-soothe when faced with sensory triggers.
  • Enhanced Self-Regulation: Observe if your child demonstrates improved self-regulation skills, such as better control over emotional responses to sensory stimuli or increased independence in managing sensory challenges.
  • Increased Participation in Activities: Pay attention to your child’s engagement levels in daily tasks and social interactions. Progress may manifest as an increased willingness to explore new sensory experiences or heightened comfort in group settings.

By being attuned to these signs of progress, you can gauge the effectiveness of their therapy and advocate for adjustments to support your child’s sensory systems further.

– Communication with the Therapist

Effective communication with your child’s therapist is essential in shaping the course of Sensory Integration Therapy and optimizing outcomes. Here are valuable tips for fostering collaboration and transparency in your interactions:

  • Share Observations: Communicate openly with the therapist about the changes you notice in your child’s behavior at home or in different environments. Your insights provide valuable feedback for tailoring therapy interventions.
  • Express Concerns: Don’t hesitate to voice any concerns or challenges you encounter during your child’s therapy sessions. Discussing areas of difficulty can help the therapist adjust strategies to meet your child’s needs better.
  • Discuss Progress and Goals: Discuss your child’s progress and set achievable goals with the therapist. Establishing clear objectives ensures that therapy remains focused and effective.

Fostering a supportive and communicative relationship with your child’s therapist plays a key role in driving progress and adapting therapy techniques to suit your child’s evolving needs.

Remember, your active involvement and feedback are instrumental in maximizing your child’s Sensory Integration Therapy benefits.

In navigating the complexities of Sensory Integration Therapy, staying attuned to your child’s progress and engaging in constructive dialogues with the therapist can lead to meaningful adjustments that enhance the efficacy of the therapy plan. Your dedication and advocacy are invaluable assets in guiding your child toward a personalized treatment plan.

FAQs About SI Therapy

– Does sensory integration therapy really work?

Sensory Integration Therapy (SIT) is effective for many children with sensory processing difficulties. It helps improve their ability to interpret and respond to sensory inputs, leading to better attention, focus, and self-regulation. 

However, its effectiveness can vary depending on each child’s individual needs and the consistency of the therapy.

– Can a child outgrow sensory issues?

While some children may experience fewer sensory issues as they grow older, others may continue to experience sensory processing difficulties into adulthood. 

Sensory Integration Therapy aims to equip children with the skills to manage these challenges better, potentially reducing their impact over time.

– How long does it take for sensory integration to work?

The duration for noticeable improvements in sensory processing can vary widely among children. Some may see progress within a few months, while others might take longer. 

Consistent therapy sessions and supportive activities at home are vital to achieving the best outcomes. Regular monitoring and communication with the therapist can help tailor the approach to meet your child’s evolving needs.

Next Steps

Explore the possibilities that Sensory Integration Therapy offers. SIT can be a significant step in supporting your child’s sensory processing challenges. You will give your child the tools to navigate their sensory experiences with confidence and resilience.

Additional Resources


Do you have a child that needs one on one assistance?  

We offer one-on-one special education tutoring that can be done from anywhere the student is! Why? Because our special education experts conduct their sessions online!

Get started with a free consultation today!



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Shannah Holt

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