What is Sensory Processing Disorder?
Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) means that a child’s brain has a hard time taking in and responding to sensory based information, which in turn impacts their functioning and behavior within their everyday environments.
How can Occupational Therapy help with sensory processing issues?
Occupational therapists directly train and support children (and adults) with sensory processing deficits. They provide activities that directly remediate the common challenges associated with SPD. The goal of occupational therapy is to develop appropriate body responses to sensations in an active, meaningful and engaging way so the child is able to learn how to act in a more functional manner at home and school. With therapy over time, the appropriate behavior generalizes to environments beyond therapy sessions, including home, school, and in the community. Interventions can include involving the skilled use of sensory and motor treatment activities and equipment as well as engagement in activities that provide tactile (touch), proprioceptive (body awareness) and movement opportunities.
In addition, they also provide accommodations and adaptations at home and school called sensory diet programs. Sensory diet programs involve a daily routine with a menu of individualized, supportive sensory strategies (e.g. rocking chair, weighted blanket), identified physical activities (jumping rope, swimming) and materials (stress balls, thera-balls, music). This allows the child to appropriately use their senses to take in and organize sensory information for success in everyday activities.
Nicole Sammons, OTR/L, at Windom Area Health is a Certified Sensory Integration Specialist and can help children make ‘sense’ of the world around them. Please contact Nicole by calling the Windom Area Health Rehabilitation Department at (507) 831-0634 for more information regarding your sensory processing disorder questions.