Sensory Integration is one of those "hot button" names.  If you telephone your insurance company and announce that your child has been diagnosed with it, they will react as though you got the diagnosis from your local Ouiji board practitioner.

"Oh, we don't cover that," my (lovely) insurance company told me.  "That's experimental."

Oh dear.  Experimental?  Well let's look into it.  I'm sure that if it's experimental it's pie-in-the sky, right?  Probably not pragmatic at all.

I'm going to meander through a discussion of what Sensory Integration is, but in the meantime, check out this great site, put together by the mother of a child with Sensory Integration. She does an awesome job and I refer you to her for most information.  Also see Mom's OT Page for information on occupational therapy and a partial listing of resources.

The Origins of Sensory Integration as a Diagnosis
The sensory integration diagnosis was developed by A. Jean Ayres, who was both an occupational therapist and an educational psychologist. Think about this for a minute because it's important.  It's also not something that you'll find often in doctors.  Typically the neurologist looks at the neurological stuff, the neuropsychiatrist looks at the neuropsychiatric stuff, and the OT is off in the corner, like a glorified dental hygienist or garage mechanic, working on the "physical" stuff.

Ayres did what medicine should be doing a lot more of. She combined the background and perspective of two fields of medicine, and in doing so, she brought more context into her observations.  The following excerpt  fuller version here is a very good overview of sensory integration.  (Note that proximal means "nearest to the point of attachment" and distal means "located distant to a point of attachment."  Both are anatomical terms, but are used in this case to talk about senses.)  

Put Simply, What Does Sensory Integration Mean?
Children's senses develop at different rates. Some kids have problems with one or more senses, and with getting things like visual and motor abilities to work together.  These problems can be helped by various therapies.  How much they can be helped depends on how extreme your child's problems are.

An occupational therapist's perspective on sensory integration.

Sensory Integration Websites
Michelle Morris is the mother of a child with sensory integration issues.  She has an entire website devoted to the topic, which includes a checklist, tons of helpful material, and even a list of sensory integration products.  For more information on sensory integration products, see Mom's Occupational Therapy page.

Vision Problems
If your child squints to read, of course you go to an optometrist.  What you might now know, however, is that there are several different types of vision problems and several differerent types of vision doctors.

The Optometrist's Network is pretty rabid about this topic.  They have many very useful pages to describe it.  One page in particular to take a look at talks about how sometimes people misdiagnose vision disorders for other things -- like ADHD.

Here is a checklist for whether or not to get your child a vision exam.
This link describes vision therapy.
The Optometrists Network has a referral service for local vision therapists.

Hearing Problems
Auditory issues go far deeper than whether or not your child can hear correctly.  Here is a page discussing why one of the auditory therapies (AIT) works.

Here are some of the problems that can be improved with listening therapy:

I was particularly impressed when my child's OT told me that listening to a therapeutic CD could help my child's vestibular problems. Wow.

There are several programs:
Auditory Integration Training is one.  Here are some notes on it.
The Listening Program comes in two flavors: one is sold to OT's, and the other can be purchased by parents.  You can purchase it from Incredible Horizons.

[This page is under construction. See the OT page for more.]

The Alert program helps teach kids how to "run" their bodies and themselves differently.

From the SenGifted organization (supporting emotional needs of the gifted), an Interesting article about sensory integration disorders in the profoundly gifted.

Mom's ADHD, Etc. Page

Mom's Autism Page

Mom's Occupational Therapy page

Mom's Dyslexia Page

Mom's Learning to Read page

Mom's Learning Handwriting page

Mom's Learning Math page

Mom's Storytelling Page

Learning Social Skills

Learning with Disability Tools
The Anachronistic Mom's notes on
Sensory Integration