Naming the Disorder
Ayres used the term “sensory integration disorder” to describe the problems she was seeing in children. The term wasn't intended to describe a specific malady, just a way of understanding the difficulties the children were having. Finding a permanent name to hang on sensory integration problems has been something of an ongoing process.
You may hear sensory integration disorder called sensory integration dysfunction or dysfunction of sensory integration (coined at least in part to change the acronym from SID, which came a little close to the acronym for sudden infant death syndrome). As therapists further research the sensory problems of children and refine their understanding, they're also trying to fine-tune the language used to describe them.
“Sensory processing disorder” and “regulatory-sensory processing disorders” are two names that are being used more frequently now, with the latter broken down into a variety of subcategories, including sensory modulation, sensory discrimination challenges, and sensory-based motor challenges. The name changes may be confusing to parents, but they're helpful to therapists and researchers in pinpointing the specific needs of children and addressing them most efficiently.
Whatever name you use, a diagnosis of sensory integration disorder and therapy using a sensory integration approach can make your child more attentive at school, more manageable at home, and more comfortable in his own skin. Most parents would call that a miracle.