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Sensory Processing

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Pearl Chow

on 3 October 2017

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Transcript of Sensory Processing

Sensory Processing
and Self Regulation
Why is Self Regulation Important?
Successful Self Regulation needs:
Understanding the role of sensory processing in achieving self regulation for school aged children
In a given situation, be in an optimal state to do what needs to be done, to reach one's goals.
manage sensory needs, energy states, temperament - BIOLOGY
manage emotions, behaviours and impulses - EMOTION & COGNITION
behave in a socially appropriate way - SOCIAL & MORAL

Self Regulation

Sensory Processing

Our Senses
How do
process sensations
to achieve "just right"?

Shape of the Day
Sharing Case Studies Confidentiality
Your tools?
Your questions?
*sign in and out
*.pdf handout via email
Body & Brain Breaks
Our Journey
A neurological process that occurs in all of us
We take in sensory information from our bodies and world, organize it and integrate it to make it meaningful, then respond automatically, efficiently, and comfortably to the sensory input.

“The brain must organize all of these sensations if a person is to move and learn and behave normally. The brain locates, sorts, and orders sensations-somewhat as a traffic policeman directs moving cars. When sensations flow in a well-organized or integrated manner, the brain can use those sensations to form perceptions, behaviors, and learning. When the flow of sensation is disorganized, life can be like a rush-hour traffic jam”

Jean Ayres, 1979
There is growing evidence that many children, especially those at risk, begin school lacking self-regulation and this lack of self-regulation may have a great impact on how well they do in school and later life.
Visual- see
Olfactory- smell Gustatory- taste
Auditory- hear
Tactile- touch
Vestibular- balance Proprioception- Movement
What is Self Regulation?
What are our Senses and Sensory Processing?
Sensational TOOLS for Regulation
Heidi Tringali, an occupational therapist in Charlotte, North Carolina, offers a hypothesis...: Many of the nonconforming children she treats may need wiggle cushions and weighted balls because they’ve grown up strapped into the five-point harnesses of strollers and car seats, planted in front of screens, and put to sleep at night flat on their backs, all of which leaves them craving action, sensation, and attention when they’re finally let loose. “Every child in the school system right now has been impacted. Of course they’re all licking their friends and bouncing off the walls.”
Sensory Processing impacts:
Demonstration of knowledge/ cognition
Interaction with others
Expression of feelings
Level of self esteem & self control
Motor output

Why is Sensory Processing Important?

In the context of sensory processing, children explain themselves through their BEHAVIOR not by “telling”. AND all behaviour serves a PURPOSE.
The function the behaviour serves for that child may be ADAPTIVE or MALADAPTIVE for that particular situation.

Trouble staying on task
Trouble transitioning between activities
Trouble engaging in sensory rich activities (gym, crafts)
(a focus on "sameness")

Invisible disability - inconsistent, fluctuating, unpredictable

Fight - Fright - Flight - Freeze

Skill development affected due to lack of experience

Poor recovery from sensory events

Low self-esteem and confidence

Social implications

What Can you do?
Be a detective!
Watch for subtle cues
Try to understand reasons for behavior
Environment, emotional state, level of arousal,
sensory build up or overload
Does the behaviour need to change?
What is the sensory input sought?
Consider Top Down vs. Bottom Up Inhibition
Carefully selected tools aimed to replace inappropriate behaviors with more appropriate ones.
TOOLS not Toys
Play with a PURPOSE
proprioceptive system
includes receptors in the muscles and joints. When your body moves the joints, tendons and muscles send information about force and position to the brain. Movement can optimize a person’s level of alertness.

PROPRIOCEPTION has the most power to change "engine" levels, it's ORGANIZING and rarely overloading.
The Alert Program
Give them more… intense, time, variety to ALERT:
Sight - colourful, bright, shiny, moving.
Oral/tastes - cold, hot, spicy, tangy, sour, citrus.
Scents - mint, citrus, cinnamon.
Sounds - cheery, energetic, upbeat, fast.
Touch - textures that are hard, bumpy, rough, cool.
Movements - fast, spinning, hanging, heavy work.
Adapt the environment – help them avoid what is bothering them
Give the child some control/choice to CALM:
Sight– muted, dark, moving rhythmically.
Oral/Taste– vanilla, warm tastes, chew toys (fairly individual).
Scents– vanilla, lavender, again individual.
Sounds– soft, steady pace, white noise.
Touch– soft, smooth, warmth, deep pressure.
Movement– slow, rhythmic, linear (rocking).
vestibular system
includes receptors in the inner ear which detect movement and send messages to the brainstem. Think about how the head is moving.
Head movement can influence a person’s level of alertness.

Sensory Diet
Mind UP
Brain Break
The Alert Program
Superbrain Yoga
Brain Gym & Math
Quick Fit
Case Study: John
Jo is a 7 year old student who has difficulties managing in the classroom. Jo is easily distracted, and does not like to stay seated. Jo frequently completes only part of a worksheet and requires constant redirection to stay on task. Jo chews on clothing, pencils and is constantly mouthing classroom materials. Jo does not like loud noises and hides in the cloak room when the class gets too noisy. Jo hums during quiet reading. Jo does not manage well with changes in activities or school routines. Jo enjoys rough and tumble play at recess, and is often purposefully crashing into things.

Students will fidget or touch when they have to listen for long periods of time.

A tool for the hands is most effective during listening times.

An appropriate fidget toy is:
quiet and non-obtrusive
stays in the student’s hands
allows the child to focus on listening
Set Expectations:
Suitable for the situation - if the tool makes noise that is disturbing others, it is not fitting at that time
If the child is focusing more on the tool than on the task, the tool is not appropriate
If the child is throwing the tool or using it in a way that is disturbing others, choose a different tool.

Types of Movement
Heavy work
Up and Down
Front and Back
Upside Down
Crash and Bump

It is VERY IMPORTANT to place a focus activity at the end of a movement session to stop the nervous system from going into overload or disorganization.

Brain Boogie
Putting It All Together
Movement Breaks count as Daily Physical Activity! Students with special needs still are required to meet DPA.
Get Ready to Learn
Ready Bodies Learning Minds
Dunn's Model of Sensory Processing
Child's View of Sensory Processing
Thank You
Pearl Chow, B.Sc. OT (C)
Stuart Shanker
www.energizingbrainbreaks.com David Sladkey
Other Resources
Vancouver Regional Pediatric Team

"Neural integration is the heart of health"
- Dr. Dan Siegel
Leah Kuypers, 2011
Exercise is one way to change "engine levels".
Full transcript