Everyday tasks such as picking up a pen, using a spoon, or biting into a sandwich require the nervous system to receive messages from the senses and to turn these messages into appropriate motor or behavioural responses. This is called sensory processing, also known as sensory integration (SI).
Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) occurs when information received through the senses cannot be processed correctly, resulting in disruption of everyday life. Children affected by this disorder may over-respond to stimuli such as clothing texture, light, or physical contact. Alternatively, a child may under-respond, demonstrating a lack of reaction to pain or extreme temperatures. Often, children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) also have Sensory Processing Disorder.
Children with Sensory Processing Disorder are often intellectually gifted and can succeed just as well as their peers. Occupational therapy is a wonderful resource for a child with Sensory Processing Disorder! A pediatric occupational therapist can use the sensory integration approach to create a treatment program for your child. An occupational therapist can work with your child to treat symptoms which may include:
- Difficulties focusing in school
- Behavioural problems
- Low self-esteem
- Motor clumsiness
- And more…
Typically, an occupational therapist uses a stimulus-rich environment to guide your child through subtly challenging, yet fun activities to evaluate your child’s sensory responses. Working alongside the parents, the occupational therapist will learn about your child’s sensory challenges and can provide strategies to family members as well as teachers.
Often, Sensory Processing Disorder is perceived as “invisible”. Working with a pediatric occupational therapist will help you and your child build confidence and improve communication, leading to success in school, the home and beyond!
To learn more about occupational therapy for sensory processing disorders, simply call Karp Rehabilitation at 604-420-7800!