Music Therapy, Sensory Integration, and the Autistic Child

By Dorita S. Berger | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 3
Aspects of Sensory Integration
Two simple truths can be stated about life on this planet. First, all life must display functional adaptation to environmental forces (i.e. gravity, energy, biochemical and gaseous influences, sights, sounds, tastes, heat, cold, etc.) in order to survive.Second, all animal life adapts by coding various forms of adequate sensory stimuli electromagnetic (vision), chemical (taste, smell), mechanical (touch, hearing), thermodynamic (heat, cold, etc.) - and converting these into sensory action potentials (electrical impulses) that travel to the brain through the central nervous system (CNS) for processing.In effect we animals are like FM receivers, converting electrical impulses into functional circuitry which stimulates the nervous system into sending messages to the brain calling for appropriate adaptive responses. Of course, [functional] responses are based upon how the brain has interpreted the information in the first place in order to help the system understand and resolve the issue efficaciously. Recall that the operative word appropriate, as stated earlier, applies to each physiologic system individually.All animals, including human beings, use a two-way process in managing information:
input enters and goes to the brain via sensory neurons (the afferent nervous system);
output comes from the brain to the body via motor neurons (the efferent nervous system).

A human being has some 12 billion neurons! For input transactions we come equipped with receptors in the form of sensory receiving organs that

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