Thursday, November 8, 2007

Sensory Integration Therapy Works

I just read a post by a mom who's son banged his head giving himself a nose bleed. I felt her pain, at one point G gave himself paper cuts just for fun. It was horrible. The mom mentioned that her child didn't "qualify" for OT.

This drives me crazy!!!
Sensory integration therapy works, it changes lives, it has improved the quality of life for countless people. Yet, it's not recognized in many places as a valid therapy because it is not in the DSM. I think people are so bogged down arguing over whether sensory processing disorder is its own condition or a co-condition that they are not listening to the many adults who struggle with it.

I had the privilege of talking with Temple Grandin about this awhile ago. We address speech issues, behavior issues, and language issues in people with autism. Could it be the professional community is unable to address sensory issues because they can't relate to, or understand them? What I mean is neurotypical people don't feel like a dentist is drilling into their eardrum when they hear a siren or feedback from a microphone. So if they have no common experience, can that cause them to discount the experience of those with SPD?

On a happy note, sensory integration therapy has dramatically changed the quality of my son's life. No more self injurious behavior, when he falls he registers pain normally now. He doesn't melt down if a firetruck rolls by with it's siren blaring. We do have some sensitivities, like say to garbage trucks, but nothing that harms the quality of life.

I'll keep singing the praises of sensory integration therapy. There's hope! There's hope! There's hope!

For lots of good autism materials and sensory integration toys please visit National Autism Resources!


kristen said...

Yes, the sensory piece of my son's OT program has made a dramatic difference. I agree. It changes lives. And you will never convince me that it does not exist or that it isn't a key component of many other diagnosed conditions. I believe it can stand 100 percent alone, or be part of a package deal. But either way, it exists. And you are right to keep spreading the word.

Anonymous said...

This is the sensory integration book I have and I recommend it.

In the preschool years if you get OT they deal with sensory issues. My little one still sleeps with his weighted blanket.

In the school years you can get OT for ASD for fine motor only (sometimes gross if it's a huge issue). BUT, the OT's will take into account sensory issues and offer suggestions for the classroom.

Not perfect.

Casdok said...

So pleased to hear that it has helped youe son.

The Glasers said...

The best thing about sensory integration that I had a way of preventing meltdowns. I was lucky enough to attend a workshop by Judith Reisman and Bonnie Hanschu (plus one of my good friends was Nancy Kashman helped me). I would watch Pamela for signs of frustration and would take her to a quiet spot. I would spin her and could actually feel her body melt. After a few deep pressure hugs, she was ready for more.

In time, she learned to recognize when she had had enough and tell me so we could take a break.

During her teens, she swung at the park frequently and I wonder if it helped smooth out those hormones. Swinging definitely took the edge of foul moods.

Elissa said...

It's wonderful that you have had so much success with it!

Keep singing it's praises and surely one day people who need to will listen!!!

Marla Fauchier Baltes said...

We did sensory integration on our own. I figured if no one would cover the service, which for several years it was refused, we would do our best to do iton our own. I do believe it helps some people. I guess it is hard to know if we can't have access to trying it. I still use a lot of the techniques on our daughter, she even requests them.

Maddy said...

We 'did it at home' too, although the school certainly tries.
Best wishes

jsds0808 said...

I am so frustrated that the school system wants to label my SPD child with ADD as well. He has just started first grade and has not had treatment for SPD in a clinical setting since he turned three. He could function successfully in the home, but school is a totally new environment and issues are starting to resurface. He only gets 20 minutes of observation by an OT once a week. I feel that they want to identify him as ADD so they can medicate him and move on. We are initiating treatment outside of school, because I believe if the sensory issues are addressed, the attention defecit will be remedied. We have no problem engaging him at home where there is not as much sensory stimulus. I am so glad to hear how sensory integration therapy has helped others.

Anonymous said...

My daughter (now 8) was a different person after sensory integration therapy--we can brush her hair, even get it cut! She doesn't spin for 20 minutes after dinner any more. She still swings--a lot. And bathrooms with automatic flushers--RIGHT OUT. Seriously.
But it's a small price to pay overall.
We're lucky that PA provides medical cards to kids dxed with autism--covers all the wrap services, OT, speech everything that private insurers won't. It's been a godsend. Best of luck!