What do OT’s look for when they say that they are looking at sensory information?

  • Tactile input informs the brain about touch, pressure, vibration, pain, and temperature. The tactile system consists of a protective or defensive mechanism to protect the body from harmful stimuli and a discriminative mechanism which provides the brain with localized, precise information which facilitate the ability to recognize and differentiate qualities such as size, shape, texture, density, and temperature of objects without visual input.
  • Vestibular input informs the brain about head and body position in relation to gravity, balance, and accelerated and decelerated movement. Vestibular information tells the brain where one is in relation to the surface of the earth, if one is still or moving, the speed at which one is moving, and the direction in which one is moving. An efficient system provides an individual with adequate muscle tone, gravitational security, postural control, balance, motor planning, automatic, smooth and coordinated movement, bilateral coordination, visual-spatial processing, and emotional security.
  • Proprioceptive input informs the brain about body position and movement. It tells the brain if, when, and how the joints are flexing, extending, pulling, or being compressed. An efficient system provides an individual with a physical sense of self (body awareness), which is the foundation for the psychological sense of self-awareness. Proprioception promotes motor control, motor planning, quality of movement, and economy of movement.
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