Sensory Processing

The DIR / Floortime Model™ is the model we adopt for our therapy. We use a range of other specific intervention tools and strategies to provide our clients with a comprehensive treatment program.

Quickstepz Paediatric Therapy believes that the basis of any child’s ability to attend and interact is determined by his/her ability to process sensory information in their environment. Intervention begins at the base level of sensory processing, because all learning interactions begin by first gaining the child’s attention and then being able to build on that interaction. If a child is constantly overwhelmed by their surroundings and has difficulty calming or regulating, then it may be very difficult to develop their attention and therefore their communication skills, play skills and motor skills. Regulation is often the key. Other children are in constant movement and have difficulty attending to a task or interaction, leading to difficulties developing fine/gross motor skills or sitting and attending to structured activities at preschool/school.

We utilize a range of therapeutic tools that give us a basis to understand:

Sensory Processing

How the child’s sensory processing can lead to distraction, anxiety, controlling behaviour, avoidance, withdrawal, hyperactivity, over-compliance, non-compliance or poor impulse control.

Sensory discrimination

The ‘output’ as a result of how we process sensory input i.e balance, coordination, bilateral integration, endurance; and how this can lead to difficulties with motor control for fine and gross motor skills.

Praxis - motor planning and sequencing

How issues with motor planning can impact behaviour and organisation and can lead to difficulties sequencing everyday tasks.

Auditory processing and listening skills

Sensitivity to loud sounds, difficulty filtering out extraneous background noise, under-responsivity to auditory input, difficulty following instructions; and how this can lead to difficulty focusing and performing in busy, multi-sensory settings.

During an evaluation, we assess the child’s sensory processing, discrimination, praxis and auditory processing and encompasses what is known as the child’s individual differences (as referred to as the “I” in the DIR Model).

This involves assessing the child’s capacity to take in and process information from their surroundings i.e sound, touch, movement (sensory processing) and how they organise this information to take action (motor planning).

Following evaluation and goal setting, the therapist then works with the child and their parents to address sensory processing areas that are impacting their child’s development. One example may be to decrease tactile sensitivities that have led to difficulties coping with the daily tasks of brushing teeth, washing hair, putting shoes and socks on etc.

Therapeutic Listening®

Sound therapy is also offered to children who may benefit from this program. Therapeutic Listening® was developed by Sheila Frick, Occupational Therapist, and is an innovative program that provides high quality auditory input and is used within the context of a sensory based treatment program. We use Therapeutic Listening® at times with our clients and families when the child presents with significant sensory processing and modulation issues.

Therapeutic Listening® is an expansion of sensory integration. It is an auditory intervention program that uses the organized sound patterns inherent in music to impact all levels of the nervous system. Therapeutic Listening® utilizes a range of CD’s that vary in musical style, types of filtering, and level of complexity. The music on Therapeutic Listening® CD’s is electronically altered to elicit the orienting response which sets up the body for sustained attention and active listening.

As listening skills improve, not only is an individual better able to negotiate interaction with others through an enhanced ability to hear and understand speech sounds, but he or she is also better able to orient and attend to salient sensory information and regulate his/her physiological state. Having a solid foundation in these important skills then frees up valuable cortical resources for connection, engagement, communication, new learning and other higher level skills.

The following diagram provides you with a quick overview of what we are looking at when we evaluate a child. This diagram also demonstrates how issues with sensory processing can impact your child’s ability to regulate, develop their motor skills and interact with others. Click here to view this diagram.

Autism & Your Child, blogspot

Autism is a complex developmental disorder that typically appears during the first three years of life and is the result of a neurological disorder that affects the normal functioning of the brain, impacting development in the areas of social interaction and communication skills. Both children and adults with autism typically show difficulties in verbal and non-verbal communication, social interactions, and play activities.

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