Sensory Issues in Children
Sensory processing disorder describes a problem with how a person perceives sensory information.
It may be that they cannot shut out certain sensations such as noise or touch and are overwhelmed by them. It could also be that the person finds certain types of stimulation painful. Sensory processing disorder can affect just one sense e.g. touch or it can affect a variety of senses such as balance, body awareness and smell. Children’s occupational therapy can help to identify and manage the symptoms of this condition.
People with sensory processing disorders can find the world to be an overwhelming and painful place and may engage in unusual behaviours such as rocking, chewing, spinning etc. to help them cope with their sensations. These are normally called ‘self-stimulating behaviours’.
A person with sensory processing disorder finds it difficult to process information received through the senses which subsequently creates challenges in performing countless everyday tasks. Clumsiness, behavioural problems, anxiety, depression, school failure and other issues may result if the disorder is not treated effectively.
How can Kate Meads Associates help?
The focus of children’s occupational therapy is to identify the nature of your child’s sensory processing disorder and how it affects their day-to-day life. Your occupational therapist will discuss how your child has developed so far, how they met their developmental milestones etc. They will also discuss your goals and wishes – for example supporting them to become more independent or reducing challenging or self-stimulating behaviour. The occupational therapist will then take time to get to know your child, play with them, watch them moving and engaging in activities with the aim of identifying the nature of their disabilities and the barriers they face. You may be asked to complete a questionnaire about your child’s behaviours and how they react to daily activities. If necessary a formal sensory processing assessment may be completed, this is called the Sensory Integration and Praxis Test (SIPT) which looks at key areas of sensory processing and movement.
Kate Meads Associates will produce a detailed yet accessible report within 10 working days of the assessment. This report will provide a summary of the barriers that get in the way of your child fulfilling their roles and routines and make a number of recommendations that might help.
Therapies and Treatment
Our Occupational Therapists are experienced in providing children’s occupational therapy and passionate about providing evidence-based interventions to improve functional performance. Each treatment plan is individual, underpinned by occupational therapy philosophy, taking a person-centred and strengths-based approach. Our ultimate aim is to help a child to achieve their goals and improve their functional performance.
The occupational therapist will work with you and your child to understand the demands of their day and what they need to be able to do better or to feel more confident in. Treatment will be tailored to your child’s needs and will focus on developing the areas your child finds most difficult. Children’s occupational therapy also focusses on promoting strengths and how these can be used to develop confidence and self-esteem.
Example of common treatment aims include:-
Sensory integration therapy
Implementation of a sensory diet (this is a program of calming and organising activities that will help your child to regulate their sensory input throughout their day.
Development of posture and balance skills
Motor / movement planning and sequencing
Strength and muscle tone improvement
Working with the school to develop strategies and appropriate adaptations
Support and training for school staff to promote understanding
Focused work on improving independence in daily tasks such as washing and dressing
Do you know a child who …?
Has difficulty coping with certain environments?
Has difficulty managing their behaviour and has sudden and unexpected behavioural outbursts?
Engages in unusual behaviours such as rocking or spinning?
Lacks concentration and has difficulty engaging in their school work?