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      Neural Foundations of Ayres Sensory Integration ®


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          Sensory integration, now trademarked as Ayres Sensory Integration ® or ASI, is based on principles of neuroscience and provides a framework for understanding the contributions of the sensory and motor foundations of human behavior. The theory and practice of ASI continues to evolve as greater understanding of the neurobiology of human behavior emerges. In this paper we examine core constructs of ASI identified in the seminal work of Dr. Jean Ayres, and present current neuroscience research that underlies the main patterns of sensory integration function and dysfunction. We consider how current research verifies and clarifies Ayres’ propositions by describing functions of the vestibular, proprioceptive, and tactile sensory systems, and exploring their relationships to ocular, postural, bilateral integration, praxis, and sensory modulation. We close by proposing neuroplasticity as the mechanisms underlying change as a result of ASI intervention.

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          Most cited references95

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          Sensory and attention abnormalities in autistic spectrum disorders.

          Individuals with autistic spectrum disorders (ASDs) often experience, describe and exhibit unusual patterns of sensation and attention. These anomalies have been hypothesized to result from overarousal and consequent overfocused attention. Parents of individuals with ASD rated items in three domains, 'sensory overreactivity', 'sensory underreactivity' and 'sensory seeking behaviors', of an expanded version of the Sensory Profile, a 103-item rating scale developed for the present study. Parents also rated symptom severity, overselective attention and exceptional memory, and completed the Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales. Of 222 rated subjects, 144 had complete data. Cluster analysis showed the predicted overfocused pattern of sensation and attention, comprising overreactivity, perseverative behavior and interests, overfocused attention and exceptional memory in 43 percent of this sample. This pattern was striking in 10 percent. The neurological basis of overreactivity and overfocusing is discussed in relation to the overarousal hypothesis. Attention is drawn to its considerable prevalence in the ASD population.
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            Reaction time variability in ADHD: a review.

            For the past decade, intra-individual variability in reaction times on computerized tasks has become a central focus of cognitive research on Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Numerous studies document increased reaction time variability among children and adults with ADHD, relative to typically developing controls. However, direct comparisons with other disorders with heightened reaction time variability are virtually nonexistent, despite their potential to inform our understanding of the phenomenon. A growing literature examines the sensitivity of reaction time variability to theoretically and clinically relevant manipulations. There is strong evidence that stimulus treatment reduces reaction time variability during a range of cognitive tasks, but the literature is mixed regarding the impact of motivational incentives and variation in stimulus event rate. Most studies of reaction time variability implicitly assume that heightened reaction time variability reflects occasional lapses in attention, and the dominant neurophysiological interpretation suggests this variability is linked to intrusions of task-negative brain network activity during task performance. Work examining the behavioral and neurophysiological correlates of reaction time variability provides some support for these hypotheses, but considerably more work is needed in this area. Finally, because conclusions from each of domains reviewed are limited by the wide range of measures used to measure reaction time variability, this review highlights the need for increased attention to the cognitive and motivational context in which variability is assessed and recommends that future work always supplement macro-level variability indices with metrics that isolate particular components of reaction time variability.
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              Vestibular pathways involved in cognition

              Recent discoveries have emphasized the role of the vestibular system in cognitive processes such as memory, spatial navigation and bodily self-consciousness. A precise understanding of the vestibular pathways involved is essential to understand the consequences of vestibular diseases for cognition, as well as develop therapeutic strategies to facilitate recovery. The knowledge of the “vestibular cortical projection areas”, defined as the cortical areas activated by vestibular stimulation, has dramatically increased over the last several years from both anatomical and functional points of view. Four major pathways have been hypothesized to transmit vestibular information to the vestibular cortex: (1) the vestibulo-thalamo-cortical pathway, which probably transmits spatial information about the environment via the parietal, entorhinal and perirhinal cortices to the hippocampus and is associated with spatial representation and self-versus object motion distinctions; (2) the pathway from the dorsal tegmental nucleus via the lateral mammillary nucleus, the anterodorsal nucleus of the thalamus to the entorhinal cortex, which transmits information for estimations of head direction; (3) the pathway via the nucleus reticularis pontis oralis, the supramammillary nucleus and the medial septum to the hippocampus, which transmits information supporting hippocampal theta rhythm and memory; and (4) a possible pathway via the cerebellum, and the ventral lateral nucleus of the thalamus (perhaps to the parietal cortex), which transmits information for spatial learning. Finally a new pathway is hypothesized via the basal ganglia, potentially involved in spatial learning and spatial memory. From these pathways, progressively emerges the anatomical network of vestibular cognition.

                Author and article information

                Brain Sci
                Brain Sci
                Brain Sciences
                28 June 2019
                July 2019
                : 9
                : 7
                [1 ]Department of Occupational Therapy, College of Health and Human Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523, USA
                [2 ]Discipline of Occupational Therapy, School of Health Sciences, University of Newcastle, Newcastle, New South Wales 2300, Australia
                [3 ]Department of Occupational Therapy and Farber Institute for Neuroscience, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA 19107, USA
                [4 ]STAR Institute for Sensory Processing Disorder, Greenwood Village, CO 80111, USA
                [5 ]The Spiral Foundation, Newton, MA 02458, USA
                [6 ]Department of Pediatrics, Occupational Therapy Graduate Program, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 871321, USA
                [7 ]Collaborative Leadership in Ayres Sensory Integration, Redondo Beach, CA 90277, USA
                Author notes
                [* ]Correspondence: shelly.lane@ 123456colostate.edu ; Tel.: +1-970-491-4122
                © 2019 by the authors.

                Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).


                sensory integration,neuroscience,sensory registration,sensory modulation,sensory processing,sensory perception,sensory reactivity,dyspraxia


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