Sensory integration therapy aims to help people with sensory processing issues through a structured and repetitive way. This will prompt the brain to process sensory information more effectively, helping the child respond more appropriately to the environment.
At Chrysalis, once the child is assessed, we develop a SI plan for the child for the required children, in consultation with the parents that includes structured exposure to sensory inputs, balance treatments, movement therapy etc. through tailored made activities and accommodations to suit the child’s need. Some, but not all, of the strategies we use are
Safe sensory corner or room
Safe rooms or corner are designed to assist someone in organising, calming, relaxing and seeking out sensory information. This will help to calm the child or to stimulate their senses. And this becomes a safe retreat for the sensory defensive child. To make a sensory corner, one of the methods adopted at Chrysalis, is by blocking off a corner of the room with different colour light and furnish with a variety of texture. A simple big bean bag can calm a child under deep pressure. For auditory and visual inputs, rhythmic music and disco lights are used.
Proprioceptive system is located in our muscles and joints. It provide a senses of body awareness and detects / controls pressure. The proprioceptive system also has an important regulatory role in sensory processing, mainly this input can be calming for those who are overwhelmed by sensory stimulation. It can be passive or active information processing.
Some, but not all, indicators that a child is seeking proprioceptive input are:
The vestibular system operates through receptors in the inner ear and in conjunction with position in space, input from the eyes, and feedback from muscle and joint receptors, is able to contribute to posture and appropriate response of the visual system to maintain a field of vision. Vestibular system is important because it links to our vision, auditory and proprioceptive systems, and more. Vestibular processing affects eye-hand coordination (visual motor skills) and how we move our bodies (body awareness). Children with vestibular processing problems will show some of the below symptoms:
Depending on the need of the each child, some of the vestibular activities are included in the SI plan. Some of the activities include Swinging, rotary movements, changes in direction, speed, running, skipping, jumping rope etc.
Oral motor activities.
Oral motor skills contribute majorly to attention and organisation of behaviour. Muscles used for sucking, blowing, chewing, swallowing, biting and breathing are the same muscles used to help good posture. Postural control needs strong neck, chest, stomach and back muscles. This has a direct impact on the child’s alertness and attentiveness. Some children are hyper-sensitive to touch around the mouth or hypo-sensitive. While developing the SI plan at Chrysalis, we assess the child looking at all the aspects of daily living activities and formulate an individualised strategy. Some children chew excessively on clothing, pencils and other inappropriate objects. They are usually seeking tactile and proprioceptive input through their mouth to help concentrate or to reduce anxiety. Activities like blowing bubbles in a bowl of water with straw, drinking thick milk shake, playing harmonica, etc. will help us cater to the child’s oral motor needs.