influence of SI on motor development and skill
Dyspraxia and Postural
Disorders are associated with poor
organization and motor performance. Tactile and proprioceptive processing
deficits usually underlie sensory integration-based dyspraxia (deficits
Praxis is the term that refers to the ability
to plan and execute motor functions that are nonhabitual and require
skill. In SI theory, it is hypothesized that there are several
components of praxis that must be examined for assessing the performance
problems and developing interventions. These are:
(a cognitive understanding such as knowing that a chair is used
for sitting, a ball is used for throwing; it involves conceptualizing
the use or possibilities of an object or situation; it is predicated
on the assimilation of information from appropriate experiences);
Planning (the ability to develop a method
to successfully accomplish the task, action; this often involves
the ability to initiate, to sequence, and to terminate individual
movements or patterns);
Execution (the physical ability of the muscles/body
to move; most SI therapy concentrates on ideation and planning;
severe problems in execution usually involve diagnoses such as
cerebral palsy which require use of additional theories and techniques.
Although SI can and should be used in comprehensive intervention
for such children, it is generally not used in isolation of other
theories such as motor-learning).
Vestibular Processing Disorders
may interfere with communication between the two sides of the brain,
ability to cross the body midline during motor performance and sequencing
skilled movement. These are all important components for high level
fine motor skills.
A brief explanation of the underlying theory is that
information from the sensory systems, (particularly, tactile, vestibular,
proprioceptive) contribute to the child's development of a body
scheme (an internal geographical representation of body parts, location,
attributes, etc. that are refined with experience, age, and development).
This body scheme provides the child with a point of reference
for interaction. Initially it is global (e.g. the child differentiates
him or herself from the blanket on which he or she lay); it becomes
more refined (e.g., the child is aware that he or she can successfully
use a hand to swipe a toy) and more differentiated (the child automatically
stabilized the shoulder and arm to allow the fingers to manipulate
puzzle pieces for placement in a form).
Bilateral integration (communication between
the two sides of the brain) is thought to be associated with sensory
processing, particularly within the vestibular system and is important
for specialized developmental events. A concept of body midline
(a tacit awareness of a center of the body comprised of two sides;
a continuing refinement of body scheme;) emerges form further sensory
processing of experiences (within and without the body) and provides
a reference point for motor, cognitive, and social functions. This
is the basis for bilateral motor coordination (skilled use
of two sides of the body together); crossing the midline
(using the right hand in the left field of vision and vice versa);
sequencing (performing two or more movements, tasks, etc.
in order), and complementary hand use (one hand holds the
paper stable, while the other manipulates the scissor for cutting).
Hand or extremity preference for specific motor skills (such
as holding a pencil) is a natural progression in the developmental
trend of bilateral motor coordination. Please note that preference
is developed after use of two sides of the body well, not from having
a "good" side and a "bad" side.
Bilateral integration and coordination are also the
core foundations for laterality (awareness of one side of
the body; one being the right side, the other being the left side)
and directionality (expanding the concepts of left and right
to objects other than the self). It is quite evident why early and
varied experiences with proper sensory processing are important
contributors to successful, functional adaptations in life, the
goal of Sensory Integration Treatment.