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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Sensory-Motor Integration and ADD

08/29/2000

Question:

I`ve just been told that my 7 yr old son (with ADD) has a problem with sensory-motor integration. What is SI? Is it a sympton of ADD or something separate? How can it be treated?

Answer:

Sensory-motor integration is a general term that refers to the interaction between perceptual functions (that is, your ability to receive information) and motor functions (controlled movements of body parts). It also can be used to refer to the brain centers that control these functions and the connections among these centers. Typically, problems with sensory-motor integration are observed with respect to movements that require coordination and/or fine motor control, such as handwriting, copying complex spatial designs, or athletic movements. Problems with sensory-motor integration generally are not considered central to ADD but, certainly, many individuals with ADD do have these kinds of difficulties, and they may or may not be related to the cause of the attentional difficulties. I believe the most effective therapy for sensory-motor integration problems is supervised practice for specific fine motor and coordination tasks. This kind of therapy will tend to enhance motor learning and the brain function that underlies it. Such therapy may be offered by occupational, recreational, and physical therapists. If you live near a rehabilitation hospital or a general children`s hospital you will likely be able to get more information there, through their Department of Physical Therapy.

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Response by:

Robert Krikorian, PhD
Associate Professor
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati