How Occupational Therapy Is Used to Treat Sensory Integration
Occupational therapists, like those at The Therapy Place in Kalamazoo, MI, can assess an individual’s response to sensory information—from the body and the environment—using a variety of tools including standardized and non-standardized tests, clinical observations, and caregiver or teacher interviews.
An occupational therapist’s intervention to address sensory processing concerns can be provided throughout the lifespan of a patient.
Early intervention focuses on disabilities or at-risk signals for developmental delays. Occupational therapists may identify sensory related factors and provide interventions for helping patients with effective self-regulation (wake/sleep cycles, level of alertness, self-quieting), sensory processing, motor development and adaptive behaviors.
Occupational therapists use a sensory integration approach to support educational needs, life skills, and activities of daily living. Practitioners also may make modifications to the student’s classroom environment, or focus on the skills needed to assist children in participating at school, playing, making friends, and maintaining focus in the learning environment. Some examples of therapy might include managing sensory information during routines like going to school, tolerating smells and noises in school, and playing on the playground with others.
Adolescents and young adults
These individuals may benefit from strategies that help them understand their own sensory processing systems and the impact on leisure activities, vocational choices, and relationships. Individuals whose participation in everyday activities is limited because they are fearful of movement, sensitive to touch, or unaware of body position in space and have not had the opportunity to use their bodies to effectively explore the sensory (proprioceptive, tactile, vestibular) and physical environment may also benefit from occupational therapists using this frame of reference.
Some occupational therapists receive specialized postgraduate education and training in theory, assessment, and principles of sensory integration intervention. Certification programs in sensory integration, which qualify a practitioner to administer and interpret the Sensory Integration and Praxis Tests (SIPT) are also available but not required.
The occupational therapist’s strategies may help reduce stress and inappropriate or disorganized behavior caused by poor sensory registration, sensory defensiveness, sensory overload, and poor praxis. Occupational therapist practitioners who provide services using sensory processing approaches work with children to remediate the underlying sensory integration and praxis factors affecting a student’s education and participation at school.
Occupational therapy services—for people of all ages—may address:
- Alzheimer’s Disease/Dementia
- Anxiety/Post Traumatic Stress Disorders
- Brain Injuries/Concussion
- Chronic Conditions
- Cognitive Disorders
- Developmental Disabilities
- Fall Prevention/Balance/Vertigo
- Fine Motor Skills
- Joint/Musculoskeletal Disorders
- Pain Management
- Sensory Processing Disorders
- Visual/Perceptual Skills
No question or symptom is unimportant to us! Our mission is to enable people of all ages to live life to its fullest by helping them promote health and prevent or better accommodate illness, injury or disability to improve the quality of daily living.
If you’re in the Kalamazoo, MI, area and have questions about occupational therapy, call us at (269) 544-2901 or email us for a free consultation.