Guest Author - Bonnie Sayers
I can describe my nonverbal son Matthew as a sensory seeking child. He has sensory issues. He needs an Occupational Therapist that has a sensory background. I have shared examples of his self stimulatory behaviors and what can occur at the grocery store.
I took a Floor Time training course a few years ago that taught me about the systems and the developmental levels. This month I attended the Stanley Greenspan Online Course along with the Post Conference on Sensory Processing Disorders with Rosemary White. There is a five minute sample video of Dr. Greenspan.
Some websites state that Sensory Processing Disorders is the same as Sensory Integration Dysfunction. At the online conference participants could ask a question to Dr. Stanley Greenspan and Rosemary White. I only had time to listen to two days worth of audio responses from Rosemary White. One question asked why Sensory Integration Dysfunction was not covered in the conference. I wish I had taken notes while listening since I did not follow it while attending to my son at the same time. I do know that my son needs deep pressure and would benefit from joint compression. These topics were not covered in the conference. For now I continue to say my son has sensory issues.
Now that Matthew is in the midst of Puberty his issues have changed. He has always been particular to the type of clothing he will wear. This consists of Puma, adidas or pro spirit pants. For Middle School there is a uniform that has to be worn. I am considering having Matthew wear the gym shorts or deep pressure shorts under his clothing everyday. This will also help in the locker room when they change clothing for Adaptive PE in Middle School. I would rather not everyone see that Matthew wears Huggies GoodNites. We discussed this at the recent IEP with the Adaptive PE teacher, who also happens to be at the MiddleSchool I want Matthew to attend. He suggested that Matthew practice sit-ups and cycling over the summer. Matthew had difficulty kicking the ball this past year as part of his IEP goal. Next year we are focusing on throwing the ball.
I also brought along a picture of the Spiky Glove for feedback on if this would be suitable for Matthew, although trying to get him to wear it would be a tough task for anyone. The Assistant Principal said she had these HandiWriters and would let the teacher try this tool out on Matthew for the remaining school year. She also had an extra slant board they would utilize. The other items I am considering for helping Matthew is an Arm Weight or the Body Sox.
I just ordered this rubber band sensory ball for Matthew. I want to have some fidgets ready for him just in case he does take the bus next year. For a few years I would greet Matthew with a video every afternoon with the last two years it being a baggie of pretzels. Eating crunchy food is another form of sensory input.
I find the terminology confusing and overwhelming at times. I can just imagine how a parent just starting out would feel. I decided I needed to learn more on this topic and have started reading Raising A Sensory Smart Child - The Definitive handbook for Helping Your Child with Sensory Integration Issues. I am on Part One - Recognizing and Understanding Your Child's Sensory Issues.
I also picked up for summer reading The Out-of-Sync Child Has Fun - Revised Edition: Activities for Kids with Sensory Processing Disorder. Matthew's issues have changed over the years so I need a refresher course on how to manage it all.
I have been curious what all the initials mean after the therapists names, so I went in search of the definitions and why there is such a variety of them for these professionals. Is it better to have someone with twelve letters after their name or is one or two sufficient?
EDD Doctor of Education (degree)
OTR/L Occupational Therapist, Registered, Licensed
MT-BC Music Therapist Board Certified
MPH Master of Public Health
FAOTA Fellow of the American Occupational Therapy Association
Here is a Graduate Level Course on Sensory Integration. OT Licensure in Texas. This is the USC/WPS Comprehensive Program in Sensory Integration. DIR Database Search There are numerous levels for these professionals. I am not sure of their order, but these are beside the names and must make some difference in the level of therapy families receive:
DIRŪ Certificate Program Graduate
DIRŪ Certificate Candidate, Level II
DIRŪ Certificate Candidate, Level II Advanced
DIRŪ Certificate Candidate, Level III
Some of the tips I noted from the Rosemary White conference:
Sustain mutual engagement
Motor Planning is part of praxis
Sensory environment sets up child's availability for relationship
Therapy equipment is not the most important piece
Support the children - wait,give them time to process to clarify their ideas
Tune into other ideas
Help think more broadly
Range of response to stimulation
Parents need to be intuitive to kids
The Conference Lectures
Overview of Regulatory Disorders - Dr. Greenspan
Overview of Stages - Dr. Greenspan
Dr. Greenspan Power Point Slideshow
Welcome from Rosemary White
1. Intro to Regulatory Sensory Processing and the DIR Model
2. The Social Brain
3. Social Relatedness and Affect Cueing
4. (a,b,c) Sensory Processing
5. (a,b) Sensory Affective Emotional Regulation
6 a) Praxis
6. b,c)Praxis Postural Control for Function
6. d) Praxis Intentionality
6. e) Praxis Intentionality and Regulation
6. f) Praxis Sensory Motor and Emotion
7. Treatment Addressing Sensory Motor and Emotion
Terms utilized - (Definitions were not given, I am trying to find ones that are easy to comprehend)
Executive Function - a set of cognitive abilities that control and regulate other abilities and behaviors
Engaged State - this is a cognitive activty
Hyper Focus - over attentive
Sensation Avoid - avoiding all new sensations
Visual Input - if child is easily distracted by visual stimuli, control the light sources in the room (no flourescent lighting)
Emotionally Disregulated State - to lose attention with both external and internal events, then there is a loss of feedback
Sensitivty to Stimuli - will result in hand flapping, toe walking and pacing
Heightened Response - This increased sensitivity may be perceived as pleasurable, but in some cases it can be painful.
High Affect - this is the tone or pitch of your voice (animated)
Visual Cognition- seems to be similar to visual perception
Physical Motor Function - athletic activities like baseball
Affect Cues - this is facial gestures (frown, grimace)
Praxis - The ability to plan and execute coordinated movement
FEAS - Functional Emotional Assessment Scale
Experts in the Field
This article by Rosemary White covers the Individual Differences and Sensory Processing with much of the same terminology.
Interview with Lorna Jean King, OTR, FAOTA
Diana Henry Workshops photos show participants participating in workshops along with feedback from professionals in attendance.
The Out-of-Sync Child
S.I.Focus - Magazine
SPD Companion Newsletter
Sensory and Auditory Integration Therapy - Aetna
SPD Diagnostic Codes
Insurance Questions for Occupational Therapy
Checklists and Examples
Checklist for Signs and Symptoms
Sensory Overload and Sensory Diet examples
Southpaw Resources - how to install equipment
VelvaSoft - Weighted items
Rehab mart - Discount Medical Equipment
Fun and Function
Movement Activities for the Body Sox
Pressure Vest May help Sensory Processing Disorders
Study Discovers Link Between Increased White Matter in the Brain and Poor Motor Skills in Children with Autism - July, 2007
Sensory Motor Problems
Sensory Integration and Motor Therapies
How to body brush a child
The Wilbarger Deep Pressure and Proprioceptive Technique (DPPT)
Sensory University Toy Company
Sensory Integration Group
Other articles on this site to peruse:
Helping the child with autism self regulate
OT for children with autism - DVD Review
Online courses for autism
American made toys for kids on the Spectrum
Educational Autism Tips for Families 71 page resourceful ebook for families entering the school system with a recent autism diagnosis. Find out what issues take place over the course of a school day and meet these challenges head on.