CHILD's play CLINIC
Sensory Integration is the organization of sensory input for use. We take information in through all our senses including sight, sound, taste, touch, movement sense, and position sense. Once this information reaches the brain it must then be organized for use in adaptive responses often observed as skills.
Sensory Processing Disorder or SPD is the most current terminology being used to generally describe difficulties in 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.
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 to 8 years 11 months. Its use outside these ranges is highly discouraged and it may not be an appropriate measure for child with multiple handicaps or moderate language delays.
Bear in mind that every child can look different and only some fall neatly into the designated categories currently outlined for diagnosis.
This varies greatly from clinic to clinic but often includes a sensory motor gym outfitted with mats, suspended equipment & swings, inflatable balls, pillow cushions, modulated music, whistles, astronaut boards, balance beams, foam climbing pieces, ropes, ladders, oral motor & tactile items and scooters.
Children for at least part of their sessions 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 in both social and communicative fashions.
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.