Treatment of Sensory Processing Disorder
Occupational therapy (OT) with a Sensory Integration (SI) approach is the primary treatment for children with Sensory Processing Disorder. The wonderful thing about OT is that it is play-based and fun; my boys look forward to going to OT each week! It takes place in a “sensory gym” --it’s basically a giant playground that provides opportunities for all kinds of sensory play like swinging, climbing a rock wall, jumping into a ball pit, and navigating an obstacle course.
Depending on your child’s sensory needs, they might incorporate games that have tactile input, or games that focus on fine motor skills like cutting and coloring. By providing opportunities to experience sensory input at a level that is challenging but not over stimulating, SI therapy helps children integrate sensory input more effectively which allows them to perform everyday “occupations” in a more functional manner.
A child’s “occupations” include playing with friends, participating in group activities, learning, enjoying school, completing daily routines like getting dressed, eating, brushing their teeth, and sleeping. As your child’s sensory processing becomes more integrated, he will be better able to self-regulate and to enjoy every day life. As a result he will be happier and more confident.
My experience early in our journey with SPD was that, with the exception of my son’s PT and OT, nearly everyone I spoke with about my older son’s sensory issues was completely dismissive. This is not because they were insensitive, but because of the widespread lack of awareness about SPD.
If you have a child with SPD and you are experiencing a lack of support amongst family, friends, and professionals such as pediatricians and teachers, please know that you are not alone and that the solution to this problem is to help educate them and raise awareness.
I've put together a list of resources that have been extremely helpful to me and my family.