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What happens when I take my child to have Ayres’ Sensory Integration Therapy, what can I expect?

Do you want to find out a bit more about what happens when your child attends a therapy session with an occupational therapist, Physiotherapist or Speech Therapist doing Ayres’ Sensory Integration therapy?

Ayres’ Sensory Integration therapy is highly specialised and deeply rooted in neuroscience.  Before therapy can start, it is essential that a thorough assessment is undertaken. Thorough assessment saves time and money, as when therapy is purposefully targetted as a person’s own sensory difficulties, then it is most efficient and most effective. The art of a good therapy is that the therapist can engage with your child in a playful and motivating way, while directly targetting your child’s sensory challenges.

Watching from the outside, the play may appear unstructured, relaxed and just a lot of fun. However, the therapist will have planned specific goals with you that they will work on, determined by the assessment. The therapist will interweave these with your child’s ideas and choices of activity, incorporating ways to address the sensory challenges identified in your child’s assessment. This is the exquisite art of ASI therapy – it should, for the most part, look effortless.

Each sessions therapy aims will have been chosen to support the ability of your child’s sensory systems to register, process and integrate sensory input for use, to support improved participation in activities of daily life. The therapist will offer your child a ‘just right challenge’ – enough of a challenge to extend their skills, while safe enough so that your child feels comfortable and not overextended.  The OT will be closely monitoring your child’s reaction and arousal levels during the therapy session.

Ayres’ Sensory Integration Therapy is very individualised to every child and relies upon the close therapeutic relationship your child has with their therapist. The therapy is not about a set of repeated exercises, and every therapy session will look slightly different, with different equipment and story themes, enticing your child on that day, in the moment. However, the therapist will keep in their head overarching goals and aims, these drive the deliberate choices about what equipment to use.


You can read more about what Ayres’ Sensory Integration therapy is on Sensory Integration Global Network’s website 

Below is a video from Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago which gives a fantastic example of what Sensory Integration Therapy might look like for a child.


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