What is the Art of Therapy For Supporting Children With Sensory Processing Struggles?
- SPD is typically treated with a program of occupational therapy (OT) conducted within a sensory rich environment. Appropriate OT can change the neurological functioning in children with SPD so they can manage their responses to sensations and behave in a more functional manner. Successful OT enables them to take part in the normal activities of childhood such as playing with friends, enjoying school, eating, dressing, sleeping, and self-regulating. The most effective treatment is tailored to the needs of the individual child.
- Preliminary research data supports decades of anecdotal evidence that occupational therapy is the most effective intervention for improving and maximizing sensory processing.
- The Occupational Therapy environment is always sensory-rich, and well-planned for each individual child. The therapist guides each child through play-based activities that are covertly structured, provide the just-right challenge, result in success, and continue to carry each child up the developmental ladder.
- By treating the lower levels of the brain processing first (ex. sensory functions, developmental milestones, motor coordination, sensory processing, sequencing), then working up to higher cortical tasks (ex. reading, writing, math, complex problem solving, self esteem, sensory integration) we give the child the building blocks and developmental skills to access higher cortical functioning for the rest of their life.
- Sensory-based occupational therapy sessions are designed to be fun! The joy of engaging, sharing and mastering the just-right challenge, amidst relationship and connection is a critical component of therapy.
- Once the child responds to sensation in a more appropriate functional way, generalization occurs to the environment beyond the therapy setting.
- Ideally, therapy should be family-centered, so parents can become advocates for their child in all settings.