Sensory Integration Assessment and Therapy
Sensory integration is the body’s ability to take in information from the world around us and to make sense of it. Human beings have seven senses; touch, taste, smell, vision, hearing, proprioception and vestibular.
Some individuals have difficulties making sense of the sensory information they receive from their environment and this then impacts upon their ability to function and complete activities successfully.
Sensory processing difficulties (SPD) could include:
- Sensory seeking type behaviours i.e. fidgeting, “always on the go”, difficulties settling to sleep
- Sensory avoiding i.e. dislike of messy hands/play, nail and hair cutting, teeth brushing, feeding difficulties, upset with loud noises.
- Sensory based motor problems i.e. clumsy, difficulties with handwriting and other fine motor skills, difficulties with a riding bike, swimming
- Frustration, and unexplainable emotional meltdowns
Children who have difficulty processing sensory information may present with a variety of behaviours in different areas; for example they may find teeth brushing and hair washing upsetting but always be on the go and very fidgety.
Sensory processing difficulties can be complex and affect a huge variety of day to day activities. In order to fully assess your child's needs a detailed sensory assessment would be completed by an Occuptaional Therapist. This may include taking a detailed history from parents and, if appropriate, nursery or school. Observations would then be completed in a familiar environment to your child i.e their classroom or nursery setting. They may also be invited to our therapy space in order to continue the assessment.
Following the assessment a variety of different therapy options are available. A sensory programme would be formulated and this would be a collection of activities that are beneficial if completed on a daily basis. This is tailored to each child's needs to best fit within their existing routine and activities. Sensory programmes can be taught to teaching and supporting staff if appropriate to ensure that your child is getting the appropriate sensory information that they require throughout the day. This is sometimes known as a Sensory Diet.
Additional play based therapy sessions can also be offered within the clinic or school setting. These sessions would aim to challenge and develop sensory processing skills within a playful, child led and supportive manner.
At The Family Psychologist our occupational therapists can assess:
- Developmental skills; including cognitive, motor and play development
- Motor skills and co-ordination; where there are concerns about general co-ordination in relation to function, such as learning to ride a bike, performance in P.E, sitting posture in the classroom.
- Self-care and functional skills; such as feeding, dressing and toileting.
- Fine motor skills; particularly in relation to functional tasks, such as handwriting, using a knife and fork, using scissors. Dyspraxia
- Visual perception skills; in relation to handwriting and other functional tasks.
- A specialist therapy technique called Sensory Integration; used with children with co-ordination and sensory difficulties.
- Assessments used by the OT’s at The Family Psychologist:
- The Movement ABC-2 (Movement Assessment Battery for Children) Henderson et al
- Beery-Buktenica Developmental Test of Visual Motor Integration. (Beery VMI)
- Test of Visual Perceptual Skills -3 (TVPS)
- Sensory Integration and Praxis Test (SIPT)
- Sensory Processing Measure (SPM)
- Sensory Integration Inventory for Individuals with Developmental Disabilities
- Ayres clinical observations
The occupational therapist will select the most appropriate assessments to use depending on the reason for the assessment. An assessment takes between 2 and 3 hours and can be carried out either at The Family Psychologist office, home or school (mileage costs possible)
Following the assessment the OT completes a report with recommendations. On some occasions further therapy may be recommended and this can be provided by our OT. If you require a sensory processing and motor assessment with our Occupational Therapist please use the form on our contact page to request a call back or call us on 01562 610011.