Does your child
✓ Experience sensitivity to textures of food or clothing
✓ Chew or bite on inappropriate objects
✓ Seek rough play or tight hugs
✓ Have difficulty tolerating hair cuts or nails being clipped
✓ Have a high tolerance for pain
✓ Have difficulty with their hair being washed or teeth being brushed
✓ Appear overly sensitive to loud noises
✓ Have difficulty managing large, busy environments
✓ Have difficulty with transitions or changes in routine
✓ Avoid getting hands wet or dirty
✓ Constantly fidgets or rocks when seated
These are some indicators that your child may be experiencing difficulty receiving and responding to information that comes in through their senses.
Assessment of Sensory Processing or Sensory Integration
Our occupational therapists use a combination of standardized assessment tools as well as non-standardized assessment tools, client observation and a sensory history parent interview to evaluate sensory processing in children. Formal assessments include the Sensory Processing Measure, Sensory Profile and Analysis of Sensory Behavior Inventory.
Areas of assessment may include:
✓ social participation
✓ oral motor processing
✓ processing of tactile information (touch)
✓ processing of auditory information
✓ processing of vestibular information (balance and motion)
✓ processing of proprioceptive information (body awareness)
✓ processing of visual information
✓ motor planning and praxis
✓ environmental (specific issues occurring at home and/or school)
Treatment of Sensory Processing Issues
Once your child has been assessed, an individualized sensory diet may be recommended or strategies may be provided to target specific concerns. A “sensory diet” (coined by OT Patricia Wilbarger) is a carefully designed, personalized activity plan that provides the sensory input a person needs to stay focused and organized throughout the day.
Equipment recommendations may also be made by your therapist. In many cases, we provide trial equipment for your child to “test” out in order to ensure it is right for them before purchasing. Examples of equipment recommended would be noise cancellation headphones, weighted vests, pressure vests, sensory cushions, trampolines and bilibos.
Many of our therapists are qualified in administering the Wilbarger Deep Pressure and Proprioceptive Technique, which is a therapy program designed to reduce sensory or tactile defensiveness. It involves applying pressure to the body with a special therapressure brush as well as providing joint compressions.