What is sensory integration training for ADHD?

Douglas E. Severance, MD
Family Medicine
Multiple studies suggest that sensory integration (SI) dysfunction may be associated with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). SI dysfunction is a condition in which the brain is overloaded by too many sensory messages. As a result, people are unable to respond normally to sensory messages. With SI training, people undergo structured and constant movement. This helps the brain to better react to and integrate all of the sensory messages that are received. Traditionally, occupational therapists use SI training to treat developmental coordination problems. SI training is not an ADHD treatment. However, some pediatricians and occupational therapists believe that SI dysfunction may be present in children with ADHD. Therefore, research is being conducted to determine whether SI training may hold benefits for ADHD.
Charles J. Sophy, MD
Adolescent Medicine

Sensory Integration Training (SIT) is designed to improve brain performance and recovery. SIT uses neurosensory and neuromotor exercises to improve the brain's ability to repair itself.

The effective functioning of the human brain depends on the transmission of neurological signals from one area of the brain to the other. Sensory Integration Training improves brain function in children and adults by taking advantage of the brain's ability to repair itself. SIT works by increasing the speed of those signals along the neuroaxis.

SIT offers a structured process wherein the patient synchronizes hand and foot exercises to a precise tone heard through headphones. The patient attempts to match the rhythm of the tones with his/her movements. The patient is provided with a score, and immediate audio or visual feedback.

Over the course of the training, patients become able to focus and concentrate for longer periods of time. Additionally, they become better at filtering out internal and external distractions, and they improve their awareness and monitoring of mental and physical actions. 

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