Click on the questions below:

My child's teacher told me that my child might benefit from occupational therapy. What is it?
What is sensory integration?
What is the difference between Sensory Integration and Sensory Processing?
How do I know if my child has a Sensory Integration Dysfunction (DSI) now known as Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)?
What are some of the symptoms of Sensory Integration Dysfunction (DSI)?
What are some of the diagnoses that often have Sensory Integration Dysfunction (DSI)?
Why does my child have difficulty falling asleep at night?
What should I do if I suspect that my child has this difficulty?
Can't they just practice?
What happens during therapy?
What is body awareness?
What is the vestibular system?
What is proprioception?
What is sensory defensiveness?
Why doesn’t my doctor know about sensory processing?
Who will pay for therapy?

My child's teacher told me that my child might benefit from occupational therapy. What is it?
Occupational Therapists who specialize in pediatrics are trained to create opportunities for children to master developmental tasks and achieve independence in their home, school, and community. A few reasons for referral for evaluation and treatment include clumsiness, difficulty with grasp or motor skills and difficulty playing or socializing effectively. Direct service or consultation may be provided by your school's therapist if your child's difficulties directly interfere with education. Private occupational therapists, often covered by insurance companies, focus on a greater variety of intensive treatment interventions.
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What is Sensory Integration?
Sensory Integration is the ability to organize sensory information for use. It is the process by which the brain processes and interprets various sensory experiences including sight, sound, smell, touch, movement, body awareness, and the pull of gravity. Sensory integration is a normal phenomenon of central nervous system functioning and is essential for providing the foundation for more complex learning and behavior.
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What is the difference between Sensory Integration and Sensory Processing?
Sensory processing is about defensiveness, modulation and registration. Sensory Integration is more about the adaptive response of taking in the sensation and then having a motor outcome like catching something that is thrown to you or riding a bike or writing with a pencil.
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How do I know if my child has Sensory Integration Dysfunction (DSI) now known as Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)?
As efficient organization of sensory information provides the foundation for the development of functional skills, there can be many potential outcomes that might cause a parent concern. A disruption in sensory processing can result in sensory defensiveness (sensory seeking or sensory avoiding behaviors), problems in self-regulation (activity levels too high or too low, not matched for the task at hand), and difficulties with praxis (the ability to conceive, organize and execute skills of all kinds). Disruptions in processing sensory information can interfere with self-care skills, language skills, motor skills, academic skills, and social/emotional skills.
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What are some of the symptoms of Sensory Integration Dysfunction (DSI)?
People who have difficulty with sensory processing have very obvious symptoms. Irritability, can’t tolerate clothing, can’t tolerate noise or certain sounds in the environment. Have difficulty paying attention, talking and communication. Can’t tolerate food textures or only eat a few foods. Babies don’t like being held, can’t transition to baby foods, don’t like movement or constantly have to be moving. Babies don’t sleep and are highly irritable. Children can’t tolerate being with strangers, with other children, are clumsy, are extremely neat eaters and are very clingy to their parents. Older children can’t concentrate in school, are constantly seeking movement or chewing on hands or clothing. These kids are always looking for excuses to leave the classroom, go to the nurse, have stomachaches, rock or are always fidgeting with something in their hands.
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What are some of the diagnoses that often have Sensory Integration Dysfunction (DSI)?
Autism Spectrum Disorders, Attention Deficit Disorders, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Attachment Disorder, Down Syndrome, Learning Disabilities, and other childhood developmental disabilities.
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Why does my child have difficulty falling asleep at night?
Some children are over-aroused by the sensory information they have received during their daily life. Auditory, visual, tactile, and movement information that occurs throughout the day can accumulate, making it hard for the child to calm down at the end of the day and fall asleep. Activities that include calming input, such as deep pressure, slow rocking, and neutral warmth can help the child maintain the appropriate level of arousal. Sleeping in a sleeping bag or under heavy blankets, a warm bath before bed, or a bedtime story in a rocking chair may help your child get ready for sleep.
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What should I do if I suspect that my child has this difficulty?
If a child is suspected of having a sensory integrative dysfunction, an evaluation is in order. An evaluation usually consists of standardized testing, a structured observation of play and responses to sensory input, and an interview with the parents or caregivers.
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Can't they just practice?
We are sure that the family and teaching staff have tried to "teach" the child skills that appear difficult. Unfortunately, unless the child has the underlying ability to "be taught" the skill, it will not be mastered. It is important to remember that not all types of learning, particularly motor learning, can be mastered by practicing. No matter how many times children practice a wrong pattern, it won't make it right. Until they have the internal ability to do it correctly, they will be unable to correct the problem.
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What happens during therapy?
An important component of sensory integrative therapy is the inner drive, and motivation of the child. This plays a crucial role in the selection of the therapeutic activities. The therapist, based on the evaluation results, utilizes their specialized knowledge to analyze the tasks your child needs to master for successful involvement in life's roles. The therapist will customize the activities during the session based on your child's needs. A sensory rich environment will be set up with the types of activities that the child needs in order to have more efficient processing of sensory input. This allows the child to guide the session, within the activities that the therapist has set-up, and therefore, capitalize on the inner drive. This active involvement and exploration enables the individual's nervous system to become a more efficient organizer of sensory information. The intention of intervention is to provide the child with a physically and emotionally environment, so that this comfortable experience allows for the development for more functional and efficient skills.
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What is body awareness?
We all have an “ internal body map" that allows us to know where we are, what position we are in, and how we are moving at any given moment. This body map allows us to move without relying on our visual system to guide each movement. It is created over time as we develop from infancy throughout childhood, via repeated accurate sensory inputs produced from our motion through space. Inaccurate sensory perceptions do not allow for the creation of accurate body maps. Children with inaccurate body maps typically rely heavily on their visual systems and have significant difficulty with many aspects of motor skills.
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What is the vestibular system?
This sense allows us to maintain our balance and upright posture. It is also closely involved with the visual system, allowing us to judge our motion in relation to the objects around us. Our vestibular system can sometimes play tricks on us (ie: sitting in one of those movies where you feel like you are moving when you aren't). This sense allows us to feel secure with gravity and is a way of knowing where we are in relation to gravity (ie: if we are upside-down or sideways).
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What is proprioception?
This is the sense that allows us to know what position our body parts are in. For example, without looking at them, you can tell if your elbows or knees are bent or straight. This sense also tells us about the force of our movements. So if we see a cup and want to reach for it, we can judge how much force and speed we are reaching with so we can accurately get our hand to the cup without knocking it over or missing it. We can also tell how hard we need to hold on to lift the cup without breaking or dropping it. You are primarily using your proprioceptive sense when you walk up a familiar flight of stairs in the dark and know exactly where to place your feet and how high the steps are by the feel of the movement of your legs. Proprioception is extremely important for body awareness and coordinated movements.
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What is sensory defensiveness?
Sensory defensiveness is used to describe a group of over-sensitivities to touch, vision, sound, movement and smell sensations. With the term defensiveness, a range of behaviors is implied. These behaviors are those that we can observe that indicate that a sensory input is aversive.
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Why doesn’t my doctor know about sensory processing?
The research and documentation regarding these issues have been written up in journals that various therapists read. These findings are not generally published in medical journals. So even though there have been numerous studies and articles written, the doctors usually don’t see them. Doctors in our area who have had patients that we have treated, generally view this therapy favorably and will refer their patients to us without hesitation.
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Who will pay for therapy?
Most insurance companies will pay for "medically necessary" therapy. Otherwise the family will assume financial responsibility. Our experience with this process is that the insurance company will cover the cost of the evaluation, and then determine funding the services from the results of the evaluation.
When you contact the office for an evaluation, how to proceed with your insurance coverage will be explained.
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