NeuroSensory Integration

As children grow and develop, the brain thrives on - and in fact, requires - diverse sensory input from all senses: sight, smell, touch, sound, and taste. In addition to these commonly recognized senses, there are two other senses which are also of vital importance: vestibular sense and proprioception. The vestibular system is the "chief regulator" of all incoming sensory information and is considered the most important sensory system. The proprioceptive system receives input about joint movement all over the body. Collectively, all sensory input and the brain’s ability to integrate this input, is referred to as the neurosensory integration system.

 

It is vitally important that the entire neurosensory integration system is functioning properly to facilitate optimum learning, motor skills, behavior, and social & emotional development.

 

Neurosensory development starts in utero, and grows through environmental experience as the child grows. There are a myriad of factors which influence a child’s ability to flourish, many of which parents and educators can provide at home and school by providing opportunities for children to explore their world with their hands, bodies, and minds.

 

Chiropractic specifically targets the relationship between the spine and neurosensory system in order to promote healthy function.

 

Properly functioning vestibular and proprioceptive sensory systems are the two key components in developing and maintaining a healthy sensory processing system. Because these two sensory systems have a large part of their function housed in the spine, periodic chiropractic evaluation is essential to ensure optimal neurosensory integrative development, as well as to check for early signs of any challenges in the NSI system. These evaluations should be performed by a pediatric chiropractor specializing in neurosensory development, beginning at birth and continuing throughout childhood. 

Children with autism spectrum disorder, ADD/ADHD, dyslexia, and asperger's display significant NSI challenges, and can benefit greatly from specialized chiropractic care.

 

Chiropractic adjustments alleviate interference to individual sensory nerve function as well as the brain’s ability to integrate sensory input, improving sensory processing on multiple levels.

 

We work specifically with neurosensory integration challenges, providing adaptive chiropractic adjustments and specialized brain exercises, as well as coordinate with the family and other care providers to address nutritional and other considerations.



Primitive Reflexes

Primitive reflexes are patterned responsive movements to support development and survival in utero and the first few months of life. Each reflex is associated with one or more sensory processing systems. These reflexes normally go away within the first few months of life.

 

When one or more primitive reflexes persist beyond their normal extinction period, their presence interferes with proper neurologic development, with repercussions in social, academic, and motor learning.

 

Causes of retained primitive reflexes may include birth by cesarean section, toxicity, insufficient tummy time, exposure to anesthesia, multiple falls particularly involving head injury, chronic ear infections, and early walking with little or imbalanced crawling.

 

Can you recognize the signs of retained primitive reflexes in your child?

 

  • Over-react / constant “fight or flight”

  • Adrenal fatigue

  • Allergies and/or asthma

  • Frequent illness / depressed immunity

  • Poor impulse control

  • Withdrawn or timid

  • Easily distracted / poor concentration

  • Aggressive

  • Anxious

  • Poor articulation

  • Tactile sensitivity (such as extra ticklish)

  • Messy eater

  • Poor handwriting

  • Difficulty eye tracking

  • Difficult hand eye coordination / dexterity

  • Lower math achievement

  • Unable to sit still “ants in the pants”

  • Possible scoliosis / poor posture

  • Chronic digestive issues

  • Fussy with clothing

  • Bedwetting beyond age 5


Pregnancy & Birth History

  • Mother had a viral infection in the first trimester of pregnancy

  • Any medical problems during pregnancy such as threatened miscarriage, high blood pressure, or excessive morning sickness

  • Mother under severe emotional stress between the 23rd and 28th week of pregnancy

  • Any complications during pregnancy or delivery; prolonged labor, fetal distress

  • At any time during the pregnancy or delivery was the child said to be in a breech position?

  • Use of forceps or suction delivery

  • Caesarian section

  • More than 2 weeks premature or late

  • Multiple ultrasounds performed during pregnancy

 

Family & Health History

  • Any history of learning difficulties in the family or either parent’s family?

  • Has the child been diagnosed with a learning disability?

  • Has the child been diagnosed with ADD/ADHD or Autism Spectrum Disorder?

  • Did/does the child suffer from chronic ear infections?

  • Does the child suffer from motion sickness?

  • Did the child suffer from a head injury?

 

Learning & Developmental History

  • Lack of, or little, creeping or crawling on all fours with this child

  • Early walking

  • Any troubles with feeding or latching on in the first 3 months

  • Difficulty distinguishing right from left

  • Difficulty deciding which hand they would use as their dominant hand

  • Difficulty sitting still and/or paying attention

  • Difficulty lacing shoes or doing buttons

  • Reading difficulties

  • Reverse letters when writing

  • Difficulty writing or very messy writing

  • Difficulty catching a ball or poor hand-eye coordination

  • Seems awkward in PE, gymnastics, dance, etc

  • Difficulty learning to ride a bicycle, swim, or swing

  • Speech or articulation difficulties

Sensory Processing

If your child exhibits three or more signs of altered sensory processing, call our office to schedule a sensory specific evaluation at 603.842.4769.


Signs of Sensory Under-Responsivity

Auditory

  • Had little or no vocalizing or babbling as an infant

  • Often speaks in a loud voice and/or excessively

  • Likes excessively loud music, games, or TV

  • Does not respond to or had difficulty with verbal cues or to name being called

  • Has difficulty understanding or remembering what was said

  • Needs instructions repeated often, or will say, "What?" frequently

  • Talks self through a task, often out loud

  • Appears oblivious to certain sounds

  • Often disoriented/confused about where a sound is coming from

 

Olfactory

  • Fails to notice or ignores noxious odors

  • Excessively smells new objects, toys, people

  • Has difficulty discriminating unpleasant odors

  • May drink or eat things that are harmful/poisonous because they do not notice the noxious smell

  • Unable to identify smells from scratch 'n sniff stickers

 

Tactile

  • May crave touch, needs to touch everything and everyone

  • May be self-abusive; pinching, biting, cutting, or head banging

  • Has a high pain tolerance

  • Likes to put objects in their mouth

  • Seeks out surfaces and textures that provide strong tactile feedback

  • Often is not aware of being touched/bumped unless done with extreme force or intensity

  • Often injures self; burns, cuts, bruises, etc because harmful act does not register

  • May not be aware that hands or face are dirty or feel his/her nose running

  • Frequently and unknowingly hurts other children or pets while playing

  • Repeatedly touches surfaces or objects that are soothing (ie, blanket)

  • Seeks out messy play

 

Taste

  • May eat inedible objects such as dirt, chalk, crayons (Pica)

  • Prefers foods with intense flavor such as excessively spicy, sweet, sour, or salty

  • Frequently chews on hair, shirt, or fingers

  • Constantly puts objects in mouth; even past the toddler years

  • Likes brushing teeth/vibrating toothbrushes and even trips to the dentist

 

Visual

  • Complains about "seeing double"

  • Writes at a slant (up or down hill) on a page

  • Difficulty copying

  • Fatigues easily with reading, writing, drawing, video games, etc

  • Often loses their place while reading or doing math problems

  • Difficulty finding differences in pictures, words, symbols, or objects

  • Has a hard time seeing the "big picture"; focuses on the details or patterns within the picture

  • Difficulty with following and tracking objects with eyes

  • Difficulty judging spatial relationships in the environment; may bump into objects/people or misstep on curbs and stairs

  • Has difficulty telling the difference between similar printed letters or figures such as p/q, b/d, + and x, or square and rectangle

  • Makes reversals in words or letters when copying, or reads words backwards; ie "was" for "saw" and "no" for "on" after first grade

 

Vestibular

  • Appears to be in constant motion, can't seem to sit still

  • Loves to swing or spin; can do for long periods

  • Craves fast movement; always running, jumping, hopping etc instead of walking

  • Loves fast moving and spinning rides at amusement parks

  • When sitting must rock, shakes legs, or move head

  • Likes jumping on furniture, trampolines, spinning in a swivel chair, or getting into upside down positions

  • Tends to be a "thrill-seeker"; may be dangerous at times

 

Proprioception

  • Seeks out jumping, bumping, and crashing activities; loves "roughhousing" and tackling/wrestling

  • Kicks feet on floor or chair while sitting at desk/table

  • Prefers tight clothing; likes heavy blankets

  • Likes to be squeezed/hugged tightly

  • Clenches or grinds teeth

  • Likes to push, pinch, bump or hit others

  • Likes to chew on things such as lip, straws, pencils, shirt collar/sleeve, etc

  • Loves jumping off high structures/furniture

  • Frequently falls on floor intentionally






If your child exhibits three or more signs of altered sensory processing, call our office to schedule a sensory specific evaluation at 603.842.4769.







Signs of Sensory Over-Responsivity

Auditory

  • Frequently covers ears; especially in loud environments

  • Runs away, cries, and/or covers ears with loud or unexpected sounds

  • Is bothered by or distracted by background environmental sounds like lawn mower, loud cars, horns, construction, music, etc

  • Requests quiet environment; ie, stop making noise, talking, or singing

  • May be easily distracted by sounds not noticed or bothered by others such as clocks ticking, air conditioners, fans, refrigerators, etc

  • May refuse to go to events/activities where there is a lot of noise such as parties, movie theaters, parades, musical concerts

 

Olfactory

  • Tells other people (or talks about) how bad or funny they smell

  • Refuses to eat certain foods because of their smell

  • Is bothered by, gets sick, or has behavioral issues after the use of household cleaning products

  • Notices and/or reacts negatively to smells which do not usually bother, or get noticed, by other people

  • Is bothered by or gets irritated by the smell of perfumes, lotions, cologne, candles, etc

  • May decide to like/dislike a certain environment by the way is smells

 

Tactile

  • As an infant, did/does not like to be held or cuddled; may arch back, cry, and pull away

  • Becomes distressed when diaper or cloths are changed

  • As a toddler may preferred/prefers to be naked and pull diapers and clothes off constantly

  • Appears fearful of, or avoids standing in close proximity to other people or peers such as in groups, crowds, or lines

  • Is fearful, anxious or aggressive with light or unexpected touch

  • Is excessively ticklish

  • May overreact to minor cuts, scrapes, and or bug bites

  • Becomes distressed about having hair brushed; may be very picky about using a particular brush

  • Resists friendly or affectionate touch from anyone besides parents or siblings (and sometimes them too!)

  • Avoids touching certain textures of material; rough/silky/scratchy, etc

  • Becomes distressed or may refuse to walk barefoot on grass or sand

  • May walk on toes only or only when barefoot and with certain surfaces

  • Refuses to wear certain clothes such as clothes with rough textures, turtlenecks, jeans, hats, or belts, etc; distressed by seams in socks & may refuse to wear them

  • Avoids or dislikes "messy play", ie, sand, mud, water, glue, Playdoh, slime, etc

  • Is a picky eater, only eating certain tastes and textures; mixed textures tend to be avoided as well as hot or cold foods; resists trying new foods

  • Becomes distressed when having face washed

  • Resists brushing teeth and is extremely fearful of the dentist

 

Taste

  • Picky eater; often with extreme food preferences; ie, soft foods, crunchy foods, hot food, cold food, etc

  • May only eat "soft" or pureed foods past
    24 months of age

  • Has difficulty with sucking, chewing, and swallowing

  • Avoids seasoned, spicy, sweet, sour or salty foods; prefers bland foods

  • Extreme resistance to trying new/different foods

  • Easily gags with textured foods

  • Dislikes or complains about toothpaste
    and mouthwash

  • Extreme resistance or fear of going to the dentist or having dental work done

 

Visual

  • Avoids eye contact

  • Is easily distracted by other visual stimuli ie movement, decorations, toys, windows, etc

  • Rubs eyes, has watery eyes, or gets headaches after reading, writing, computer use or watching TV

  • Is sensitive to bright lights; will squint, cover eyes, cry and/or get headaches
    from the light

  • Will have difficulty in bright colorful rooms or a dimly lit room

  • Has difficulty keeping eyes focused on task/activity he/she is working on for an appropriate amount of time

 

Vestibular

  • Gets motion sickness often or easily, as in cars, elevators, head movement

  • May have disliked being placed on stomach as an infant

  • As an infant, may never have liked baby swings or jumpers

  • Dislikes or is fearful of walking on uneven surfaces or going up and down stairs

  • Avoids/dislikes playground equipment; ie, swings, ladders, slides, or merry-go-rounds

  • Does not like activities where feet leave/don’t touch the ground

  • Prefers sedentary tasks

  • Does not like spinning or fast movements; avoids rapid or rotating movements

  • Moves slowly and cautiously, avoids taking risks, and may appear "wimpy"

  • Does not like head movement; especially in extension, ie, washing hair

  • Avoids/dislikes elevators and escalators

  • Afraid of heights, even the height of a curb or step

  • Has difficulty with or is fearful of activities that require balance

  • Loses balance easily

  • May be fearful of, and have difficulty riding a bike, jumping, hopping, skipping or balancing on one foot (especially if eyes are closed)

 

Proprioception

  • Has low muscle tone; limp, "floppy" body

  • Fatigues easily

  • May have difficulty turning doorknobs, handles, opening and closing items

  • May have never crawled as an baby

  • Has poor body positional awareness; bumps into things, knocks things over, trips, and/or appears clumsy

  • Has poor gross motor skills; jumping, catching a ball, jumping jacks, ladders, etc

  • Poor fine motor skills; difficulty using "tools", such as pencils, silverware, combs, scissors, etc

  • Does not establish hand dominance by
    4-5 year old; may appear ambidextrous, frequently switching hands for throwing, coloring, cutting, writing, etc

  • Has difficulty learning exercise or dance steps