Ayres Sensory Integration®️ , Sensory Integration and Sensory Stimulation:
Ayres Sensory Integration®️ (ASI®️):
Ayres Sensory Integration®️, developed by Dr. Jean Ayres, is an individualised therapeutic approach aimed at enhancing the way the brain organises and integrates sensory information from the body and the environment. It can be used as a way of understanding individual differences. It also focuses on addressing sensory integration difficulties in individuals across the lifespan and in various contexts. ASI®️ assessment and intervention is done by a fully ASI®️ trained occupational therapist in an ASI®️ therapy room which must adhere to specific standards. It involves ASI®️ activities and therapeutic intervention according to the Ayres Fidelity Measure requirements. This in turn challenges the sensory systems to enhance sensory integration and overall function, thereby promoting improved participation in occupations and leading to more meaningful lives, despite the inherent challenges.
Sensory Integration (SI):
Sensory integration is a broader concept, encompassing the continuous, natural process through which the brain organises and interprets sensory information once it enters an individual’s nervous system. It is crucial for everyday functioning and learning. Ayres Sensory Integration®️ therapy (ASI), is based on Ayres’ work, and is often referred to as Sensory Integration. ASI®️ aims to address sensory integration challenges, but Sensory Integration itself refers to the brain’s innate ability to process, adapt and respond appropriately to sensory input.
Sensory stimulation refers to any activity or input that engages one or more of the sensory systems, such as touch, movement, sight, sound, smell, taste, or proprioception. Sensory stimulation is often the passive application of sensory input in which individuals are not expected to respond or interact, but forms part of typical development e.g. sensory exploration. It can be included as part of ASI®️ intervention, but sensory stimulation in itself is not ASI®️ intervention. Sensory stimulation can be done incidentally or purposefully by anyone including parents, educators or other professionals. It can be done in any setting such as at home or at school. When children play, sensory opportunities are often available which provide sensory stimulation. Examples include swinging or climbing on a jungle gym, or playing in the mud or sandpit. Simply being outside in nature, provides a wealth of nurturing sensory stimulation that engage and activate the senses.