What is Sensory Integration? Why is it important for my child’s development?
Sometimes you might be amazed by your child’s perseverance and accomplishments in daily life. How did he manage to climb up on the sofa all by himself, how did she manage to crawl so efficiently at 9 months or how did he learn to ride a bike within a day or two? All of these daily accomplishments happen because your child’s neurological system is busy working twenty-four-seven to integrate all the sensations and master the daily challenges coming their way.
The child’s motor, language, emotional and behavioural responses are directly related to his/her ability to tune in and out, the relevant sensations coming in from the auditory, visual, tactile, gustatory, muscle and movement systems. This process becomes more and more efficient during the first years of life. The inner drive to play during childhood permits your child to explore and overcome new challenges for the development of sensory and motor functions.
This natural process that directs the child to succeed and keep up with the daily demands and it is called Sensory Integration.
Sensory Integration happens at a neurological level and is responsible for the registration, organisation and interpretation of sensations. It is an important part of the child’s development and is a major driving force in the child’s play choices in the first 7 years of life. So, your child will engage in fun play activities and repeat them over and over again until his nervous system masters the processing of sensations.
This integration of sensations is what helps your child keep it all together and develop skills including:
Effective self-regulation: emotional control
Maintaining effective homeostatic functions
Motor skills: crawling, jumping, playing ball games, managing cutlery holding writing tool, writing, copying, reading
Higher-level cognitive functions: attention, memory
So let’s allow children to follow their inner drive and be masters at exploring their surroundings. Let’s nurture their neurological systems and learn how to have fun with them. You can create obstacle courses with soft furnishings at home, visit your local Maltese playground and support them while climbing, let them explore tactile sensations and run barefoot on your favorite Maltese beach or do an exploratory fieldwork walk in the beautiful Maltese countryside.