Individuals interact with their environment by using their senses to gather information. The ongoing assimilation of this information by the nervous system to produce a response is known as sensory integration. The two systems working simultaneously that make up sensory integration are sensory modulation and sensory discrimination.
Sensory Modulation refers to the way an individual responds to various kinds and amounts of sensory input. Our nervous system continually attempts to modulate a constant and comfortable regulatory state from which we are able to use the information from our senses. When we are in a functional regulatory state we are calm, alert, and ready to learn. Difficulties with sensory modulation affect an individual’s behavior and emotions, as they may be easily distracted, react to irrelevant stimuli, or over react to a non-critical sensory stimulation. This over-reaction may appear as a fight, flight, or fright response.
Sensory Discrimination is the way in which we identify and label input in our environment. Sensory discrimination occurs in all our senses including touch, sight, hearing, smell, taste, body position (proprioception), and movement of our head through space (vestibular).