WHAT IS SENSORY PROCESSING & SPD?
Sensory processing (originally called “sensory integration dysfunction” or SID) refers to the way the nervous system receives messages from the senses and turns them into appropriate motor and behavioral responses. Whether you are biting into a sandwich, riding a bicycle or reading a book, your successful completion of the activity requires accurate processing of sensation.
Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), exists when sensory signals are either not detected or don’t get organized into appropriate responses. Pioneering occupational therapist, educational psychologist, and neuroscientist A. Jean Ayres, PhD, likened SPD to a neurological “traffic jam” that prevents certain parts of the brain from receiving the information needed to interpret sensory information correctly. According to Dr. Lucy J. Miller, an expert in SPD, a person with SPD finds it difficult to process and act upon information received through the senses, which creates challenges in performing countless everyday tasks. Motor clumsiness, behavioral problems, anxiety, depression, school failure, and many other problems may impact those who do not have effective treatment.
Symptoms of Sensory Processing Disorder, like those of most disorders, occur within a broad spectrum of severity. While most of us have occasional difficulties processing sensory information, for children, adolescents, and adults with SPD, these difficulties are chronic, and they can significantly disrupt everyday life.
Information from STAR Institute for Sensory Processing Disorder: https://www.spdstar.org/basic/red-flags-for-spd
Infants and Toddlers
____ Problems eating or sleeping
____ Refuses to go to anyone but their mom for comfort
____ Irritable when being dressed; uncomfortable in clothes
____ Rarely plays with toys
____ Resists cuddling, arches away when held
____ Cannot calm self
____ Floppy or stiff body, motor delays
____ Over-sensitive to touch, noises, smells, other people
____ Difficulty making friends
____ Difficulty dressing, eating, sleeping, and/or toilet training
____ Clumsy; poor motor skills; weak
____ In constant motion; in everyone else’s “face and space”
____ Frequent or long temper tantrums
___ Over-sensitive to touch, noise, smells, other people
___ Easily distracted, fidgety, craves movement; aggressive
___ Easily overwhelmed
___ Difficulty with handwriting or motor activities
___ Difficulty making friends
___ Unaware of pain and/or other people
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
Effective treatment for Sensory Processing Disorder by a trained occupational therapist is available at Spot On Therapies. Far too many children with sensory symptoms are misdiagnosed and/or improperly treated. Untreated SPD that persists into adulthood can affect an individual’s ability to succeed in school, marriage, work, and community social environments.
What to expect from your occupational therapist and intervention team at Spot On Therapies.
- Provides direct 1-to-1 treatment in a sensory-rich setting that has unique equipment that provides a wide range of sensory opportunities
- Includes a diagnostic evaluation before you begin treatment and delivers it in easily understandable, written form.
- We make parent education an integral part of the treatment program, and we don’t mean five minutes at the end of a treatment session! Parents need and deserve much more than that! Dedicated time for parent feedback and education is built into the treatment plan.
- Provides written goals for treatment as you begin treatment to assure that everyone is “on the same page” about priorities
- Documents change as treatment changes so everyone knows how treatment is working. Typically, OTs who provide excellent pre-treatment testing also provide good up dates and …. All Spot On Therapists’ provide functional outcome based goals.
- Uses play and success to produce change and foster self-esteem. In good, sensory-based OT, children think they are playing. If a child is crying during treatment sessions, the OT may not be skilled in providing challenge with success, which is a keystone to treatment effectiveness.
- Uses purposeful sensory stimulation to work on “occupations” such as eating, dressing, grasping, handwriting, playing with others, social participation, self-regulation, and self-esteem.
- Asks questions that will lead to effective understanding of you, your child, and your family. Don’t be afraid to ask questions yourself either! If you don’t understand what your OT is doing, it is crucial to confirm that his or her methods and activities are grounded in sound therapeutic concepts and part of a well-defined strategy.
- Listens to you, believes you, and fully believes in the potential of your child to change. The outcomes of OT are functional changes – differences that you, your child’s teacher, and others can see. If you can’t tell if your child is improving, he or she is not improving enough!