As a parent, it is hard to know how exactly to employ occupational therapy techniques in the home. And, if you are like me, you don’t have time to read every book out there, because you are already busy dealing with the unique needs of your child!
It was because of this that I am BEYOND excited to introduce to you the TRP Wellness series, an Occupational Therapy (OT) dvd series is for children of all disabilities and diagnoses including ADHD, ADD, Autism, Cerebral Palsy, MR, Multiple Scoliosis, Sensory Processing Disorder, Spinal Muscular Atrophy and Developmental Delays!
These DVD’s contain very helpful, “meaty” information, but everything is presented in an easily digestible way. You get both clinical terms and every day language!
OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY FOR CHILDREN WITH AUTISM, SPECIAL NEEDS & TYPICAL is a 45 minute introduction to Occupational Therapy (OT) for parents.
Britt Collins combines OT and Applied Behavior Analysis “to teach parents, educators and caregivers what they can do at home to help with desensitizing and reprogramming how the child’s brain processes sensory information.”
I love that Britt gives advice on how to incorporate these sensory activities into daily life. Thankfully, these are activities that your sensory-seeking child will find enjoyable!
This DVD touches on the following sensory issues: gravitational insecurity, motor planning, vestibular dysfunction, proprioception dysfunction, tactile dysfunction, visual motor, oral motor, organization of behavior. Occupational Therapy For Children With Autism, Special Needs & Typical won the 2008 iParenting Media Award!
In my favorite TRP Wellness DVD, OT in The Home, Britt offers practical solutions for helping SPD children in the areas of eating, dressing, bathing, bed-time, and brushing teeth. This DVD is much appreciated because eating, bathing, and bed-time have been daily battle grounds for my child. Of course all of the usual “discipline” techniques don’t work, because my SPD child is not merely trying to defy me. He is really desperately trying to defend himself against sensory input he can’t tolerate: the mushyness of mashed potatoes, the feeling of bathwater running over his skin, and the unpleasantness of being “tucked in” under the bedclothes at night. OT in The Home is 90 minutes of hope!
Jojo official starts preschool in the fall, and OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY IN THE SCHOOL is a great DVD to share with educators. Occupational Therapy in the School takes us through a typical day at school and give suggestions of how to foster success with any child with sensory needs.
The DVD addresses sensory situations that arise with children in the educational context. The facilitation of positioning, attention to task, social interaction, and handwriting are explored.
Yoga for Children with Special Needs is another title from TRP Wellness worth checking out!
Britt Collins M.S. OTR/L was kind enough to allow me to interview her via email! I’m excited to share her insights with you.
Mom Most Traveled: How do you explain SPD to someone who hasn’t heard of it before?
Britt Collins: Sensory Processing is the the normal neurological and developmental process that begins in the womb and continues to affect us throughout our lives. We have 7 senses, sight, sound, touch, taste, smell, vestibular and proprioception. Vestibular is where our bodies are in space and what position our heads are in, and proprioception is the input to our muscles and joints that helps with body awareness. Sensory Processing Disorder is when we are unable to take all of these sensations in from our environment and process them functionally. For example, a child with SPD might not be able to tolerate tags in his clothing. Something we’d normally not even notice might be physically painful for a child who can not process tactile sensation. I’ve heard it described as a sensory traffic jam in a child’s brain, which I think gives a mental picture to whoever you’re talking to about it.
MMT: What are some ways that parents might notice SPD manifested in their children?
Britt Collins: There are many senses and children are all different so they make look different in each child. A few things that could bring up the question of whether your child is having difficulties with sensory processing are; sensitive to fabrics, tags in shirts, touching sticky things, jumping a lot, spinning a lot without getting dizzy, covering the ears to loud sounds, rocking back and forth, screaming loudly to cover up other sounds, flipping on and off lights, distracted by visual stimuli, motion sickness, always giving hard hugs and hard high fives, crashing a lot.
MMT: What things can parents do at home to make life with SPD go more smoothly?
Britt Collins: Each child is different and families need to consult with an occupational therapist to have them set up a sensory diet in the home. The occupational therapist should be experienced in Sensory Integration. The good news is that OTs are working with parents and making great strides with these children. A parent can learn the Wilbarger brushing technique for their child to work on tactile sensitivities, or their OT can give them “homework” to do with the child that incorporates the senses the OT is working on. Many parents like to use swings and mini-trampolines at home to work on both vestibular (balance) and proprioception (where you are in space) if their child is a little clumsy or has gravitational insecurities. This question is exactly why we created our OT DVD series – to give parents visual examples of things they can do for their child in the home, school, and community to make a daily sensory diet for their child.
MMT: Do you have any strategies for parents addressing unacceptable behaviors that are caused by SPD? (I’m thinking specifically of my child who is under-responsive to sound, and therefore always very loud and disruptive public situations (talks loudly, screams, bangs on doors and walks, walks with heavy stomping).
Britt Collins: As a parent you know that every child is different, so I don’t like to generalize too much without watching the child. That said, often children with sound sensitivities could be helped with sound therapy or this could also be helped with slow introduction of sounds to help the child learn how to tolerate various levels, noises and frequencies. There are programs such as AIT (Auditory Integration Therapy), the Listening Program, Therapeutic Listening, The Tomatis Method, EnListen Program, to name a few. A child’s OT is able to assess which program would be most affective for the individual child.
One thing to take into account is that we also receive sound though bone vibration in addition to our ears and that sound affects ALL of our other senses. This may be why your child seeks physical stimulation to process sound in addition to his ears. There is a direct connection between sound and our emotional state, our balance and coordination, our posture and our sense of self and ability to learn. If a child is self adaptation to his/her environment, they’re trying to either drown out background noises or regulate their bodies.
MMT: How should parents of children affected by Sensory Processing Disorder talk about their child’s sensitivities with other people in his or her life? Or should they?
Britt Collins: I suggest being open and honest with teachers, caregivers, family members and other people in the child’s life to help them understand that this particular child has certain sensitives that need to be taken into consideration upon interaction with the child. I find that most parents are more sensitive and understanding if they know a child is working on something or needs a little help. Also, a teacher is more able to adapt and work with you if they know what the child is going through. If parents in the grocery store stare and are rude, well, that’s just a judgmental person and there’s not much you can do about that!
MMT: What advice do you have for an adult who might be reading this and thinking, “That’s me! I have struggled like that my whole life!” ?
Britt Collins: Many and I would say almost all people have some sort of sensory sensitivity and if you have sensitives, your child probably does too. We all learn how to adapt to our environment and sometimes we need a little help along the way. For example, if an adult can’t sit in a movie theater because the people around them crunching on popcorn bothers them, they most likely have auditory sensitivities. If they get motion sickness in the car, their vestibular system may need some fine tuning. Some adults do not like to be touched or can’t stand to be in crowds. This is most likely a sensory processing reaction.
Side note- Every child is different. Please research SPD and talk with a occupational therapist that specializes in Sensory Integration to assist each individual case.
Thanks so much, Britt, for your well articulated answers about SPD!
Enter to win your choice of one of the four DVD’s mentioned in this post!
1.) To enter to win the DVD of your choice, visit the TRP Wellness site and leave a comment here with which title you would you would like to win and why!
Please don’t just comment with “Enter me” or “Sounds great”. That totally annoys me. Those entries are not eligible to win.
One winner will be chosen at random.
This giveaway is open to those with a US mailing address.
This contest will close June 20, 2009, 11:59 CST.
Closed! Congrats to