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Sensory Aspects of Neurodevelopmental Disorders

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Cerebral palsy is a sensory-motor disorder that disrupts the normal postural reflex mechanism and alters the input from sensory systems. In our most limited consideration of the phenomenon of sensation, we focus on the neurologist’s pin-prick test to know whether there is gross responsiveness of the skin area in question. We speak of the sensory systems and think of vision, hearing and a sense of smell to investigate our world. As therapists we are keenly aware of the vestibular, kinesthetic and tactile senses that permit us to reach the central nervous system and influence its output. One of the most important aspects of sensation when working with neuromotor conditions is the interaction within proprioception, between firm pressure and vestibular input. That interaction permits the righting reactions, which rely on deep pressure receptors, to establish a relationship with the equilibrium reaction that depend on visual and vestibular information to control the position of the body in space.
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