Therapist: Donna Boygle
The Therapy Life Centres large room set up for Donna to do her Sensory Integration therapy.
- Is your child’s behaviour being misunderstood?
- Does your child over react or under react to sensory input?
- Are they disorganised in their movement?
- Do they have difficulty learning new skills?
- Lack confidence in self directed play?
- Have poor attention skills?
Are you worried this is affecting your child’s learning and impacting on their activities of daily living.
- If so then a sensory assessment could be useful in identifying what specific areas your child may be having difficulties in and where they might need support, guidance or sensory integration therapy.
- When a child over reacts, under reacts or fluctuates in reaction to sensory input in a manner disportional to that input and with inappropriate emotional responses it can be hypothesised that they may have a sensory modulation disorder.
- Sensory modulation disorder disrupts a child’s ability to achieve and maintain daily tasks and adapt to challenges in daily life.
Sensory Integration Therapy
- Sensory integration therapy aims at improving the way a child’s brain responds to and makes use of sensory information and how they use it to plan, co-ordinate and organise movement. It also has a positive effect on self-confidence and self esteem.
- Sensory integration uses enhanced sensory input in a sensory enriched environment, where the child feels safe and combines planned motor out put for a child to experience success. Through self-motivated play, facilitated by the Occupational Therapist the child can learn to organise behaviour more effectively in the home and at school.
Sensory based motor disorder (Dyspraxia)
- Poor sensory processing can affect posture and movement.
- Children can have difficulty with stability, balance, and postural control, as well as poor co-ordination.
- Children can also have difficulty with planning, sequencing and executing new actions, often seen in children with dyspraxia. This all impacting on a child’s concentration and learning.
A sensory diet can be designed by the Occupational Therapist to help provide the Child with the sensory enriched daily routine they need in order to maintain concentration to aid learning and mastering new skills.
The Role of the Occupational Therapist
Occupational Therapy plays a role in helping a child and the family to adapt to the challenges imposed on everyday life by a physical, sensory, psychological or learning disability.
Occupational Therapists working with children observe a child’s performance in their occupational roles, such as playing, being part of a family, taking care of their personal needs, making friends and going to school to learn!
The primary goal of the Occupational Therapist is to help children develop, restore and maintain those skills, behaviours and relationships necessary for independent living. By assessing the child’s performance and skills in activities that are meaningful to the child, problems can then be identified and the Occupational Therapist can either:
- Help the child to gain the relevant skills.
- Adapt the environment.
- Make adjustments and compensation for functional deficits.
This enables more productive and satisfying learning and growing experiences for the child.
Assessments and Intervention
The main form of assessment is completed by Clinical Observations and non-standardised assessments. Standardised assessments are also used. School visits can be arranged and weekly sensory integration therapy with the Occupational Therapist.
The assessment process will involve:
- An initial assessment – This is completed without the child present so information can be obtained about the child’s medical history, behaviours and concerns.
- Clinical observation assessment with one parent present to identify what difficulties the child is having with processing sensory information in the environment.
- A Sensory diet can then be implemented and feedback provided.
- It is advised that a minimum of 10 weekly sensory integration therapy sessions take place after the assessment and findings to familiarise both child and family to the sensory activities provided to help the sensory needs of the child and ultimately help the child’s learning.