Sensory Processing Disorder Intervention

Children with sensory processing disorders (SPD) or developmental and learning disorders often have difficulty participating in their typical daily activities and may not achieve their fullest functional capacity. Children with SPD experience their world as either hypersensitive or hyposensitive and may react with strong emotional behaviours and experience what is often described as a “meltdown”. When there is sensory dysfunction, sensory information can be disorganised and makes it difficult to make sense of the environment. These difficulties have secondary behavioural, social-emotional difficulties, developmental delays and impact on academic performance. Grace Occupational Therapy host a series of Get Sensory Savvy Parent and Teacher Education workshops aimed to supporting early educators and families and providing education around managing children with Sensory Processing Disorders. Effective intervention for SPD is available, understanding the disorder and how to manage it is the key and can help improve the quality of life for the children and families.

Grace Occupational Therapy have a number Sensory focussed intervention strategies which includes helping parents to understand and develop Sensory Diets that work, The Listening Program & Therabrushing Technique.

The Listening Program

Grace Occupational Therapy - Sensory Processing Disorder Intervention

The Listening Program can help children that are sometimes referred to as “out of sync”. Children with Sensory Processing Disorder, ADHD, autism, learning or memory programs can sometimes benefit from a “listening” program. Sound is everywhere, it is as much a part of our lives as the air we breathe and the food we eat. Yet, many children become distressed or uncomfortable with sounds in their home, school and community. Negative sound exposure can impact on sleep, attention, learning, concentration and communication.

One solution that has been effective for some children is The Listening Program® SPECTRUM. This is a foundational program created for children with sensory sensitivities in need of a therapeutic intervention, and those listening for wellness. SPECTRUM creates a healthy relationship with sound by training the brain with pleasing evidence-based music which can improve sound brain fitness, reduce sensory sensitivities, and help children find comfort and safety in their environment. Spectrum is arranged in four progressive frequency zones, stimulating different brain areas and their related functions during the course of your personalized listening schedule. The training emphasis is in the lower frequency music of the green zone supporting social & emotional functions, motor coordination, stress response and sensory processing.

The Listening Program has a number of programs available therefore it important to discuss with your occupational therapist the program most suited to your child and whether they would benefit from the program. To get the most out of The Listening Program we recommend that listening programs are provided as part of a structured program and incorporated into an occupational therapy plan.

Wilbarger Therabrushing Protocol

The Wilbarger Protocol (also known as Therabrushing) is a therapy program designed to reduce sensory or tactile defensiveness. Children who exhibit symptoms of tactile defensiveness are extremely sensitive to touch. They often fear or resist begin touched, have difficulty transitioning between activities. The documented evidence-based research on the Wilbarger is limited however many parents of children with autism and sensory processing disorders have reported seeing decreases in sensory defensiveness and anxiety as a result of using this technique. Some of the reported benefits include; improved ability to transition between daily activities, improved attention span, decreased fear and discomfort of begin touched and better self-regulation.

The protocol consists of regular brushing using the specifically designed Therabrush and applying joint compressions. The last component to the Wilbarger Protocol is the Oral Tactile Technique (OTT). This technique requires a finger swipe along the inside of the mouth; this is particularly helpful for children with oral defensiveness. It is important to seek guidance from your occupational therapist and to be trained correctly in administering the protocol otherwise it could cause significant discomfort.