Author : Durga Aravind
Think with the whole body. As this quote says, we use our five senses to see, hear, taste, smell and touch to learn and experience with the environment. This learning happens on a continuum. In addition to the five external senses, the senses pertaining to Movement, Balance and their awareness plays a pivotal role in the learning process. As a child grows from infancy to adulthood, the experiences using the above senses get refined and integrated for further interactions.
Sensory integration is a continuous process which spans across the growth and development of an individual. Any lacuna or deficit can manifest as an impediment for the normal functioning and co-existing with the environment. As children, using the aforesaid senses involves play , play and only play… Play which is fun, directed towards satisfaction, uninhibited, provides an appropriate ground for learning and later reinforcement.
When children lose out on their formative years, the benefits and outcomes of developmental play can lead to gaps in learning. This brings in the role of Therapists and Educators to facilitate the bridge between play and learning so as to make it a smoother and enjoyable process.
Not to undermine the role of parents, sensory integration begins at home. Sensory integration can be achieved using the materials easily available at home through functional activities. Parents can unleash their creativity using the simple materials and facilitate imparting various experiences right at their homes. It goes unsaid that this is done with a great agenda of ONLY FUN…
Lets not forget that “The senses are the ones we trust first, last and always”.