Sensory integration disorder: types, causes, symptoms and treatments

While we use vision, touch, and other senses as if they are single, cohesive blocks of information that we all experience at once, the truth is that for different parts of the human brain to function properly. , they must work in coordination with each other.

Even though we believe that at some point our consciousness perfectly integrates what we feel, touch, see and taste, what is really happening is that our nervous system is crossing completely different data.

This is something that becomes evident in cases where a person is in pain. sensory integration disorder, a relatively common disorder in boys and girls and which we will see below. In fact, it is estimated that around 15% of school-aged children have the type of problems associated with this disorder.

    What is sensory integration disorder?

    This mental disorder, also known as sensory processing disorder, It is an abnormality of the neurological function which generates problems during the processing of the data of the senses, being in good health the receptor organ of the stimuli and the nerve which connects it to the rest of the nervous system.

    For example, when there is a sensory integration disorder, it is possible that some relevant and unambiguous sensory information is captured by the eyes. to be omitted or to come to consciousness “late” and therefore does not generate an appropriate response or within a reasonable timeframe.

    It is also common for people with sensory processing disorders to feel uncomfortable when they feel ‘overloaded’ with sensory data, or vice versa, a lack of stimulation that makes them feel uncomfortable. that they have the feeling of living in a bubble.

    For example, a girl might try to go somewhere else because what she has in front of her eyes is too complex, has too many colors, etc. In other words, boys and girls with sensory integration disorder are more likely to notice over-stimulation even while maintaining a passive and non-exploratory attitude towards the environment, or conversely, a hyposensitivity

    Unfortunately, little is known about this alteration, it is difficult to diagnose, Although the number of recorded cases is gradually increasing, both in minors and adults.

      Symptoms of sensory processing disorder

      The main symptoms of this disorder depend in part on the presence of hypersensitivity to stimuli or hyposensitivity. In cases where there is a lot of sensitivity, the characteristic symptoms are as follows:

      1. Hypersensitivity

      For example, the boy or the girl avoid being near bright lights, Or show very particular tastes with clothes that can be put on because they “sting” or feel too much.

      2. Illness and lack of coordination

      it costs them know what place the parts of your body occupy at a given timeHe therefore falls quite often and does not feel qualified to handle objects.

      3. Propensity for distractions

      The high sensitivity to sensory stimuli that information cannot process well makes these little ones more easily distracted, because they worry about this kind of complications.

      For those who experience hyposensitivity, the warning signs are like this:

      1. Look for a permanent contact

      This can lead to ordering tight clothes, for example, or ordering hugs at any time.

      2. Restless attitude

      Constant stimulation is sought in several ways, i they try to find places with a lot of tactile elements, Interesting sounds, etc.

      3. Low sensitivity to pain

      Even if their body is damaged, they react relatively lightly.

      4. Fear of the uncertainty of their position

      Some children with this disorder they fear the possibility of changing the position of their head and become “moved” by this change.


      Sensory integration disorder is not a completely homogeneous phenomenon, but the diversity of known cases rather suggests several sub-categories. These are the types of sensory processing disorders which are considered so far:

      Sensory modulation disorder

      this variant it is characterized by low sensitivity to stimuli. For example, the person does not take long to react to a new stimulus after being exposed to several that are exactly the same to each other.

      Sensory motor disorder

      In these cases, the “lag” with which the sensory information arrives results in it is difficult to coordinate one’s own movements trying to adapt to this changing environment and offering different sources of stimuli.

      sensory discrimination

      Significant difficulties arise when distinguish clearly different stimuli, Or it is achieved but after trying it for too long.

      Causes of this alteration

      The causes of sensory integration disorder are not known, although it is believed that a dysfunction cortical areas involved in advanced treatment sensory information, because it’s not exactly deafness or blindness or anything like that: it’s mismanagement on the part of the brain of data that is coming from the senses.

      In this sense, the areas of cortical association and the areas of white matter, which are those that communicate with each other, parts of the brain responsible for processing the different data sources, could be involved.


      There is no known cure for this disorder, although there are proposals for intervention aimed at alleviating the detrimental effect of symptoms on the quality of life of children and adults who suffer from it.

      Sensory integration therapyMore specifically, it gets the person involved and learning tasks that require coordinating their senses at the same time in real time in order to create opportunities for these corresponding brain areas to get used to working with each other. others thanks to brain plasticity.

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