Sensory Processing refers to the way our nervous system receives and interprets information from our senses and then organizes appropriate motor and behavioural responses. We all process information from the various senses including taste, touch, smell, sight, sound, movement (vestibular) and feedback from our muscles and joints (proprioception). We use this information to understand our environment and how to interact appropriately with our surroundings.
The process for registering information, organizing, modulating, and responding appropriately is very involved, and children who have difficulties with even one step of this process can present with significant functional challenges in their world. For example, children who have difficulty processing information from multiple senses at the same time, may have difficulty following instructions or organizing themselves appropriately in a busy classroom environment. While many of us will “tune out” or habituate to irrelevant stimuli in our environment, certain children cannot and may even experience a “fight or flight” response to normal stimuli.
Does your child struggle with any of the following?
- Sensitivity to textures
- Sensitivity to noise or light
- Body awareness
- Mouthing or chewing objects
- Behaving appropriately
- Following directions
- Changes to routines
Sensory Processing Disorder is often associated with other diagnoses including Autism spectrum disorder, attention-deficit disorders, learning disabilities, behavioural disorders, language disorders, anxiety and depression.
What can we do?
Butterfly Occupational Therapists will complete a comprehensive assessment which may include interview, observation and standardized assessment in order to understand your child’s sensory profile as well as the impact this may have on their functioning in different environments.
During treatment sessions our Occupational Therapists may trial tools and resources that can support your child in maintaining an optimal state of arousal throughout their day. Our Occupational Therapists will also work with you and your child to learn and understand how to recognize when they need calming or alerting input, how to communicate this, and what to do about it, using programs such as the Zones of Regulation or the Alert Program. Education is a big component to help you and your child’s supporters understand their unique needs as well as their potential.
Your child can play in our sensory gym which includes swings, trampolines, and even a rock climbing wall! This allows our Occupational Therapist to see how your child responds to all kinds of sensory input. You have the chance to try out the tools and resources in our clinic before deciding what you may need for home or school. The Occupational Therapists at Butterfly will guide you in determining how to work towards improved self-regulation one step at a time, to ensure that your child feels safe and confident in their bodies and their environments. We understand the importance of self-regulation as a foundational skill to be able to function at school and at home.
To book an assessment or for more information on Sensory Processing please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 905-206-0300.