The formation of Perceptual Schema

needed: adequate sensory integration
When a child is having difficulties learning because of sensory integration difficulties it has nothing to do with how smart she is or isn't. This child's potential may be way above what she is able to demonstrate.

.......Tomatis Topics

I t is the next level of integration that allows us to perform increasingly more complex skills. Firstly we have the skills of Eye-Hand coordination and fine and gross motor, oral motor, and ocular motor control. We have moved beyond the level of centrally programmed control into the level of learned motor behavior. Automatic: crawling, walking, even running are centrally programed. These are universal, they happen in all cultures. However catching and throwing a ball is learned.

Babies have a sucking response of orienting to the source of food, yet bringing a cup to their mouth is a learned skill. Babies eyes get fixated on certain visual stimuli and they are forced to track, yet it is a different level than moving eyes consecutively look at pictures in a book or late to follow a line of print. Babies everywhere are born with the 52 phonemes that are the building blocks of all language. This is inherent yet it is learned for a baby to say dada in English or papa in French.

Perceptual Schema is what is being accomplished through an incredible period of sensory motor development and what Piaget calls pre-operational development. It is through experience that a baby learns relationships. She learns the concept of over and under by crawling over and under. This lays the foundation for visual perceptual of form and space perception. She can then project this onto the environment, the plate is on the table, the ball is under it. This can be refined to in front of, next to, behind etc....


M ath concepts develop from this sensory motor foundation. Concept of greater than, less than, part of, divided by, added too etc. are learned from the feedback of physical phenomena. With the development of spatial perception we learn to recognize the difference between a b and d. We learn to discriminate between a ba and da.

We learn to recognize the relationship between a foreground figure and the background. We learn to perceive the difference between a person talking to us and the background noise. All of this is done on an automatic level and needs to be in place in order for the brain to be ready to learn on a more abstract level. The brain's capacity to learn is based on adequate sensory integration. This capacity to learn should be an automatic function and it is not a reflection of intelligence or intellectual abilities. When a child is having difficulties learning because of sensory integration difficulties it has nothing to do with how smart she is or isn't. This child's potential may be way above what she is able to demonstrate.


A bstract thinking or conceptualization of ideas is critical to much of what we call academic learning. We will take a moment to show how our ability to sort out and connect sensory information leads to the ability to form meaningful concepts, which in turn enhances our capacity to learn. Our senses allow us to perceive red, round, hard, and then develop the concept of apple. This gives the foundation to recognize a picture of an apple. We can then latter recognize the symbols A.P.P.L.E to mean apple. We can later become even more abstract and the expression 'You are the apple of my eye' Our sensory motor experiences provide the foundation for catching a ball, to catching a telephone call, to catching the ball after the boss has dropped it. This is an illustration of our proposition that abstract thought and reasoning are very dependent on good sensory integration. Similarly, the ability to concentrate is very dependent on the ability to screen irrelevant sensory stimuli, and the ability to organize our thought and actions is very dependent on motor planning.



ensory Integration Disorder and Self Esteem Children with Sensory Integration Disorder often see themselves as dumb. Because of their hidden handicap they don't recognize that they may be working twice as hard as their peers. The cost of compensation for their sensory integration disorder may be a sense of frustration and the awareness that their bodies are not keeping up with their minds.