Treatment sessions include direct therapy with the client as well as consultation with the parent(s) or adult client. Therapy is provided one-on-one and assists the client in gaining mastery of motor skills, enjoying sensory experiences, and developing increased self-confidence. Consultation is used as a time to problem-solve concerns or challenges that may be occurring in the client’s daily environments and to further educate the parent(s) or adult client about difficulties and how they may relate to sensory and motor areas. It is also a valuable time for the parent(s)/adult client to provide the therapist with feedback regarding responses to therapy and progress, so that treatment programs can be further tailored to meet the needs of each client and family. Functional goals and objectives are developed early on in treatment by the parent(s) and/or adult or adolescent client in order to effectively measure progress that is meaningful to the client and family.
Some of the specialty programs and treatment techniques that may be used include:
- Sensory Integration Therapy
- Visual-Vestibular Intervention
- Sound Therapy
- Handwriting/Fine Motor/Visual Motor Intervention
- Self-Regulation Programs
Sensory Integration Therapy
Sensory integration treatment is a child-directed, play-based intervention that occurs within a sensory-rich, gym-like environment. During a therapy session the therapist uses a child’s own ideas and play themes to guide the child through motivating activities. These activities are subtly and creatively structured by the therapist to offer the appropriate amount of sensory input for the child while providing the “just-right challenge” of skill to encourage sensory integration. The goal of treatment is to promote more organized, adaptive responses to sensory input that enables the child to perform in a more functional manner. In time, this will generalize beyond the treatment environment to the home, school, and community settings. Effective sensory integration intervention allows children to be more successful participants in the typical activities of childhood.
The visual and vestibular (balance) systems have many neurological connections. The efficient coordination of the two systems is essential not only for skilled movement in space but also for efficient use of the eyes, which is necessary for many academic tasks. Visual-vestibular therapy incorporates a variety of targeted intervention strategies that work to strengthen this connection and create a strong foundation for higher-level skill development. Such intervention tools within this specific area of therapy include the Vestibular-Oculomotor Protocol (Astronaut Training), Brain Gym, Bal-A-Vis-X, Infinity Walk, and the Learning Breakthrough Program. These activities can be adapted for clients of all ages.
Accurate and efficient sound processing, or listening, is the foundation for many functional skills such as attention span, auditory processing, reading, learning, postural control, movement, and self-regulation skills. Sound therapies are music-based programs which stimulate the auditory and vestibular systems, two important sensory systems whose receptors are located in the inner ear. The auditory receptor is related to sound perception and auditory processing, and directly influences attention, communication, speech, and learning. The vestibular system is a powerful integrator that interacts with all other sensory systems. It detects head movement in relation to gravity, and impacts balance, postural tone, and bilateral coordination. The vestibular system influences arousal levels and, thus, activity levels and attention. In addition, the vestibular input to the nervous system helps stabilize the eyes during head movements.
At Groton Integrated Therapies we are trained and experienced in a variety of listening programs, including Integrated Listening Systems (iLs), Safe and Sound Protocol (SSP), The Listening Program (TLP), and Therapeutic Listening.
Handwriting/Fine Motor/Visual Motor Intervention
Effective handwriting involves the development of a strong foundation of sensory and motor skills before a child can begin to write with ease and efficient control. Some of these important foundational pieces include self-regulation and attention, postural strength and endurance, bilateral coordination, and visual-vestibular coordination. The more recognized skills of hand strength and dexterity (fine motor skills), visual perception, and visual motor skill are also considered foundational and essential for a comfortable and successful handwriting experience. These combined core skills are often at the center of treatment sessions initially before handwriting is specifically targeted. A number of handwriting programs are available to support the development of either printing or cursive letter formation. We choose and tailor our handwriting programs to best meet each child’s needs.
The Zones of Regulation, Social Thinking, The Alert Program for Self-Regulation & Tools for Teens are excellent programs that teach children, young adults, and their families about self-regulation. Such programs can help an individual recognize and label his/her arousal state and choose appropriate strategies to change or maintain states of alertness. The goal is to help the individual learn how to help maintain a functional arousal level by implementing “organizing” strategies before, during, and after experiences that would likely be over-stimulating.