How Occupational Therapy Helps Sensory Integration Issues
Have you ever noticed a child at a birthday party who is overwhelmed by the candles on the cake, the noise of everyone singing, and the general mayhem of a party? It’s not normal behavior for a child. It may be that he or she has sensory integration issues. If this sounds like your child, let’s find out how occupational therapy helps with sensory integration issues.
Sensory Processing Disorders
A child who has difficulty dealing with the five senses may have a sensory processing disorder or SPD. A child may have problems with noises around them, not wanting to be touched, balance problems, and coordination, along with issues related to light, sound, texture, and taste.
These children need occupational or sensory therapy to learn how to deal with and process all sensory information.
In addition to the problems with the five senses, they may also have problems with the following:
- The vestibular system is part of the inner ear and brain and helps to process information so you can sustain your balance, coordination, and eye movements.
- Interoception refers to your sense of feeling about what is going on with your own body. Are you hot, cold, sick, or hungry?
- Proprioception involves sensing your body’s location, movements, and actions.
How Sensory Integration Therapy Treats SPD
An occupational therapist at TLC Pediatric Therapy begins to stimulate a child with various activities. This is done repetitively and in an organized and controlled fashion. They may include noise, tactile, taste, and visual sensitivity. Over time the brain will adapt and help the child to react in a more efficient way and without overreaction.
Many of the activities are play-oriented and include objects, equipment, and some accommodation. The therapist starts with simple activities and eventually, they become more complex to help the child use all their senses together. They might include balance treatments, movement, structured exposure to sensory input, physical activities, and accommodations.
The choice of activities fits the individual needs of the child, and it is sometimes known as a “sensory diet.” They may stimulate or desensitize a child. Make one feel calm, and another more stimulated depending on their needs.
The goal of sensory integration therapy is to help the child become more functional at home, at school, and eventually in the workplace.