Frequently Asked Questions:
What is Sensory Integration?
Sensory Integration is the organization of sensory input for use. We take information in through al our senses including sight, sound, taste, touch, movement, and pressure. Once this information reaches the brain it must then be organized for use in adaptive responses often observed as skills.
Are Sensory Processing Disorder or SPD the same as Sensory Integration Dysfunction or SID?
Sensory Processing Disorder or SPD is the most current terminology being used to generally describe this area of development. There are several subtypes under this heading that more specifically designate children into different branches/labels, given their sensory profile or symptom set.
What is the best way to assess Sensory Processing?
Sensory processing is BEST assessed using a variety of methodologies including parent interview, daycare/pre-school observations, clinical observations during specified sensory activities to assess proprioceptive, vestibular and tactile areas, standardized testing for certain components and review of sensory histories or sensory profiles.
What is the Sensory Integration and Praxis Test(SIPT)?
This is a standardized test used to help identify difficulties in the different areas of areas of sensory functioning. It is a very comprehensive evaluation with many subtests. Therapists are required to have a specialty certification to administer and interpret the test. It currently lacks some validity and reliability in certain areas and is only intended for children ages 4 years up to 8 years 11 months. It's use outside these ranges is highly discouraged and it may not be an appropriate measure for child with multiple handicaps or moderate language delays.
What does Sensory Processing difficulty look like?
Please see one common profile of a child with SPD. Although bear in mind that every child can look different and only some fall neatly into the designated categories currently outlined for diagnosis.
What type of equipment is used to treat Sensory Processing Disorders?
This varies greatly from clinic to clinic but often includes a sensory motor gym outfitted with mats, suspended equipment, inflatable balls, pillow cushions, modulated music, whistles and tactile items.
What does a 'typical' sensory session look like?
Children for at least part of their session may be found swinging their pretend boat over high seas, jumping into pillow cushions, climbing, playing in shaving cream, hoisting a heavy load, listening to special modulated music, playing catch and throw games and most importantly engaging with the therapist both socially and communicative fashions.
Why does my child's therapy session just look like play are they actually working on something specialized?
Sensory therapy often does look like play, although it is actually a very carefully orchestrated group of child and therapist selected activities. If you are wondering what the sensory goal for a particular session is ask your therapist they should be able to tell you in a few sentences what it is briefly about. If not then it may just be play.
How do I know if my therapist is experienced in treating Sensory Processing Disorders or not?
ASK! The best way to find out if your therapist is sensory experienced is to ask them what type of continuing education and career experience in sensory processing they possess. Experience in this area is not adequately addressed with any OT degree, nor is it gained from attending one course on a specific subject or one certification for a specific test. Experience in this area evolves over time and after exposure to many courses and specialty certifications.
My pediatrician has never heard of Sensory Processing Disorder is this common?
Very common. Unfortunately no matter where you live this occurs although definitely more often seen in more rural or less developed areas and in many destinations outside the United States. Many Developmental Pediatricians possess additional knowledge in regards to development and disorders of development. They often have more prior knowledge of sensory processing than a general pediatrician and will often refer those clients to a therapist in their area.
What is a Wilbarger Thera-Pressure Sensory Protocol?
The Wilbarger Thera-Pressure Protocol commonly referred to as "brushing" is a very specialized sensory application using a specified Thera-pressure brush. It is used to treat all types of sensory defensiveness.
It seems that therapists administer this protocol differently is there a "right" or "wrong" way?
The Wilbarger Thera-Pressure Protocol is a highly specific sensory approach that should only be prescribed by an experienced sensory therapist. The technique or way the Thera-Pressure brush is applied is highly specific and should only be shown to you by a therapist that has personally been trained by the Wilbargers. I personally have seen so many "wrong" ways to 'brush' many of which can actually cause more harm than good. Find a certified professional and only administer the Wilbarger Thera-Pressure protocol under their direct supervision and consistent monitoring.
Do I 'brush' my child once, or several times a day?
Again this information should not replace the program administration by your personal therapist but for general purposes the Wilbarger Thera-Pressure Protocol is repeated every 90 minutes to two hours throughout the day for a period of several weeks.
Is the Wilbarger Thera-Pressure Protocol Effective?
Based on the research and theories that have been established for other types of applied pressure such as acupressure or massage, the effect is clear. Applied every 90 minutes to two hours this input has a significant positive result in affecting the way the brain processes sensory input. Over time those changes help to foster further sensory system maturity, decrease/extinguish sensory defensiveness and promote the acquisition of new skills in all areas of development.
What is the diagnostic code used for Sensory Processing Disorder?
The current diagnostic code for Sensory Processing Disorder is V48.4.
What are some good easy reading general Sensory Integration references for me as a parent?
Please refer to our Recommended References.
Where can I find more information about Sensory Processing online?
We recommend the following sites for general reading, although we do not monitor the content of the site on a regular basis and do not endorse any site. Recommended online resources.
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