Some people might believe that Sensory Processing Disorder merely goes away over time; however that is not the case. Typically developing children will reach their developmental milestones within the desired time. Delays in typical development indicate the need for help. By not addressing such delays you stand the risk that it will get bigger, as the underlying foundation skills are not yet in place, which in turn affects their participation in daily occupations (school, socialising with peers, sport etc.) and very often their self-confidence.
Because we are addressing the nervous system of the child and attempting to “rewire” the brain, therapy takes time and is not a quick fix. The amount of therapy needed differs from child to child and is dependent on the individual profile of each child. On average at least 12 months of Occupational Therapy is needed, however it can be more or less depending on the needs of the individual.
Sensory processing (sometimes called “sensory integration” or SI) is a term that refers to the way the nervous system receives messages from the senses and turns them into appropriate motor and behavioural responses. We are constantly receiving messages from our sensory systems (movement, vision, hearing, touch, smell, taste and muscle and joint feedback) and therefore we should be able to integrate the information from all of our senses in order to interact with our environment and perform our activities of daily living.
The old saying goes: “Early intervention is best”. An early diagnosis leads to early intervention. The earlier you address suspected areas of difficulties the easier it is to resolve these issues. The most critical time in a child’s development is considered to be from birth to three years. Therefore children of all ages (including babies) can be seen for Occupational Therapy.
This is largely dependent on the needs of your child; however the parents do form an integral part of the team and therefore the therapeutic process. In order to truly understand what happens in therapy, parents need to attend at least some of the therapy sessions so which also gives them the opportunity to ask relevant questions. If the parent’s presence is however too distracting to the child, it is recommended that they don’t sit into each session. It is also optional for the therapy session to then be videotaped.
It is equally important for your child to attend therapy on a regular basis and for carry over to occur in the home environment. Therefore, if requested by the parents, home exercise programs will be provided by your therapist, which should be followed weekly in order to assist in the therapy process.
We believe in a multidisciplinary approach to optimize treatment which will lead to faster, more successful intervention and progress. We therefore liaise with other professionals (including the child’s teacher) on a regular basis, according to the needs of the child.
At least one 45 minute individual therapy session is recommended on a weekly basis. The more intensive the therapy process, the more likely we are to see the needed results. Regular attendance of therapy is recommended to ensure maximal benefits from therapy.