What is Neurosensory Integration?
Neurosensory Integration is the ability to take in, process, organize, and integrate sensory information so that we feel comfortable and secure when interacting with the world around us. We can then respond appropriately to given situations and demands/commands (known as Sensory-Motor Integration).
Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)
SPD is a neurodevelopmental disorder resulting from the brain’s inability to integrate everyday sensory information received from the senses. If a person has a disorganized response to sensory input, there is an imbalance between inhibition and excitation within the central nervous system (CNS), resulting in sensory defensiveness. This can present as an over- or under-reaction, or a combination of the two depending on the child.
People with SPD may present as hyperactive, hyperverbal, distractible, and disorganized or they may be very cautious, shy, and reserved. Dysfunction within the sensory integration system can lead to problems with academic learning, verbal development, motor skills, behaviour, and social/emotional development.
There are several different terms used to describe these variants and several conditions that are often seen together with SPD. Because we are not treating any specific disorder or condition, the labels do not matter. We do a thorough assessment and treat what we find.
Five “Far” Senses
Three “Near” Sensory Systems
What is Functional Neurology?
The nervous system is the modulator of human expression and experience. Functional Neurology and NeuroSensory Integration training aim to integrate and coordinate all the brain’s sensory activities in order to treat a variety of clinical and subclinical symptoms and disorders. This "brain gym" is sometimes known as reflex integration/inhibition training.
In office, we test several primitive (infant) and postural reflexes to assess the maturation of the nervous system on a subcortical level. On a very simple level, we need to properly integrate all of our infant brainstem reflexes before our more mature postural reflexes can take hold and become automatic. These infant reflexes are ones that we are born with. They help guide the maturing nervous system to develop more complex functions by initiating movement patterns (which is how the growing nervous system learns). Once that movement pattern is established, the preceding reflexes should become integrated (or "inhibited") into the background, like the roots underground that provide a strong foundation for a robust tree. When they are latent or still active, there is more "static" or noise that the nervous system has to process and filter.
Clinically, all of this falls under the big wide umbrella of Sensory Processing Disorders and Neuro-Developmental Delay, but labelling it doesn't really change our treatment. I find mild latent reflexes in my "neuro-typical" children quite frequently and like to clear them to make sure that they have the strongest foundation that we can provide for them, especially as they prepare for school as they can have a big impact on ease of learning and how we relate to the world and people around us. We treat what we find, removing physical and neurological roadblocks so that your child's body and brain can thrive together, distraction-free and without wasting energy on things that should be automatic.
Each primitive reflex is associated with a specific set of sensory systems (auditory, visual, proprioception, tactile, or vestibular), so sometimes we will see patterns in certain sensory systems that help us train up the weaker or imbalanced areas with notable impact on learning, behaviour, and physical capacity.
Where does chiropractic care fit in?
Chiropractic care does not treat or cure neurodevelopment disorders. It does, however, improve nervous system function - from restoring thrive/survive mode balance to facilitating sensorimotor integration. Chiropractic adjustments improve the quality (or fidelity) of the feedback going from the body to the brain and impact neuroplastic changes.
Through the use of a specialized blend of chiropractic care, functional neurology/sensory integration, clinical nutrition, and movement-based therapies, Dr Amanda helps guide patients and their families through an individualized approach toward optimizing the health and function of their nervous system and the unique body that houses it.
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