As part of our occupational therapy service, we offer tailored one-to-one sensory integration sessions for children who have sensory processing disorders.
What is sensory processing disorder?
We gain an understanding of our environment and our relationship with it through our sensory system, which comprises:
- sense of balance and spatial awareness (vestibular sense)
- sense of where our body and limbs are in space (proprioception)
Children with sensory processing disorder (SPD) have problems interpreting the different sensations they receive. As a result, many children with SPD have difficulty taking part in everyday tasks such as dressing, eating, school activities or in social situations.
Children with over- or under-sensitivities may also have behavioural difficulties; they may become impulsive or passive, easily distracted, frustrated or inflexible.
Your child may display difficulties with sensory processing if he or she:
- has missed some development milestones
- has difficulties sitting still or paying attention at home or at school
- has aversions to particular foods or eats a very limited range of food
- struggles with putting on or taking off clothes
- has little or no danger awareness
- has difficulty with balance, for example, walking up or down stairs
- lacks independence in everyday living
- find it difficult to change between places and activities and needs physical touch/ holding to calm down
Typically, they may have learning difficulties, global development delay, Autism Spectrum Disorder, dyspraxia or social, emotional or behaviour difficulties.
What is sensory integration?
Sensory integration is designed to help the child process the sensory input they receive in everyday life by exposing them to sensory stimulation in a structured, repetitive way. Through repetition, the child’s nervous system can respond in a more ‘organized’ way to sensations and movement.
How can sensory integration help my child?
Depending on the individual child’s condition, sensory integration can help them physically through, for example:
- improved hand-eye and motor coordination
- better posture and balance
- improved sleep cycles.
It can also have psychological benefits so that the child feels:
- less moody or restless
- more comfortable being with other children and adults
- more confident.
Who are these sessions for?
The sessions are suitable for children aged 2-12 years old who have sensory processing disorders.
How can we access the sessions?
Initially, we will invite you to bring your child for an occupational therapy assessment at our Centre.
What happens in the sessions?
Our paediatric occupational therapist will tailor the session to meet the child’s needs. She may use games or toys, gradually making the activities more challenging and complex.
She can use our onsite swing and/or Rebound equipment to help children with their sense of balance and spatial awareness (vestibular sense) or sense of where their body and limbs are in space (proprioception). By being safely in a different environment off the ground (gently held in space or bouncing) helps with things like balance and sitting up.
How long are the sessions?
Should parents attend?
We encourage parents to come with their child to take part in the sessions. This helps them understand their child’s sensory processing needs and learn ways to continue the learning at home. Sometimes, however, we request that parents don’t take part. We will discuss this with you.
How can I book my child for sensory integration?
We ask parents to bring their child in to our Centre first for an Occupational Therapy assessment. Please note: we cannot do assessments online or remotely.