How has OT using sensory integration therapy/theory helped you/ your child and your family?
I requested a sensory assessment despite having OTs working with my son and being an OT myself. I was aware that my son’s difficulties with self-regulation were worsening with the increasing social and cognitive demands of attending school. Whilst everyone agreed he had significant sensory difficulties, I felt that strategies suggested were often generic and not easily applicable to my son’s level of motivation or cognitive skills.
With Moyna, the level of knowledge underpinning her practice was clear from our first discussion. Her knowledge of sensory integration theory enabled me not just to think about what we could do differently to support my son in managing his sensory processing difficulties but to understand more clearly why he was experiencing these difficulties in the first place.
From this point we were able to identify activities which my son could engage in to enable him to regulate his sensory system. As the plan was underpinned by assessment including assessment of my son’s cognitive and motor functioning, the programme was personalised to his skills and interests meaning it is easier to implement. The child led focus of sensory integration was clear in how Moyna engaged with my son and in the programme developed. My son does not see OT as a chore – he is having fun and giving his body and mind the experiences they need to feel good!
What was the most helpful thing/ aspect for you/your child and or family?
The most helpful aspect for us has been considering strategies to support our son which actually interest him and increase his participation in functional, safe behaviours. The main concern we had when referring for an SI assessment was our sons oral motor sensory seeking behaviours. Our son chewed on anything he could find which not only created health hazards but impeded his ability to engage in social interactions and play. I understood that increase activities that involved sucking or blowing would help however many that had been suggested were not possible for him yet eg blowing bubbles.
Moyna and I discussed our son’s love of music and we settled on the idea of trying a mouth piano. This has been a revelation – my son loves playing this and he is increasing his bilateral coordination and his hand eye coordination. His motor skills are impressive – particularly to his mum who finds those skills tricky herself!! My son enjoys playing it, chooses to do so everyday and is actually working really hard with blowing without even knowing it. As an OT finding an activity which gives a sense of purpose and joy is always so important – through SI we found one which did this and supported my son to regulate his sensory system in a safe and enjoyable way.