Depending on where you read, sensory integration, sensory modulation and sensory diets can become overwhelming and confusing. Basically, the body has sensory systems and those sensory systems can become off kilter resulting in disruptive or undesired behaviors. These behaviors may appear lethargic, over-stimulated, hyper, sleep, under-stimulated, etc.
When looking at the sensory system, there are several sensory systems that may need modulating (balancing). Here are basic definitions of them:
Proprioceptive input (sensations from joints, muscles and connective tissues that lead to body awareness) can be obtained by lifting, pushing, and pulling heavy objects as well as by engaging in activities that compress (push together) or distract (pull apart) the joints.
Vestibular input (the sense of movement, centered in the inner ear) can be obtained by spinning and swinging, and to a lesser extent, any type of movement. This systems is closely related to a child's body to tolerate gravity and its pull.
Tactile input is the sense of touch and includes texture, temperature, pressure, pain, etc.
Auditory input is what we hear.
Visual input is what we see.
What we smell...
Influenced by the sense of smell, this is what is taste.
Ultimately, when looking at child's needs, a parent or teacher should seek the expert advice of a trained OT for sensory evaluation and treatment. However, that can be much easier said than done. This blog will serve as a resource for activities that you as the parent or teacher can get started until you can find an OT.