Wednesday, October 23, 2013

National Sensory Awareness Month

Last, but not least, October is also National Sensory Awareness Month!  The Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) Foundation has a great explanation page of what (SPD) is. Their website is a wonderful resource for parents, finding support, information, treatment, research, flyers to help raise awareness, etc.!

A few facts about SPD:
  • ranges in severity
  • is caused when the brain has problems organizing sensory information appropriately
  • also known as Sensory Integration Disorder, Sensory Integration Dysfunction (SI Dysfunction), and Dysfunction in Sensory Integration (DSI)
  • some may avoid loud noises, touch, or chaotic environments, while others may seek highly sensory things out
  • although everyone has difficulties processing sensory information at times, those with SPD experience these difficulties continually
  • commonly diagnosed in childhood, but affects adults as well
  • research shows that it is most likely inherited, but other factors (environmental, birth, etc.) may contribute
  • those with SPD are at a higher risk of social/emotional problems
  • often treated directly by an occupational therapist (OT) who specializes in sensory integration, but those with SPD can also have sensory needs met in other therapies or settings with professionals who have a background in sensory integration and who are collaborating with an OT
Sensory needs are best met naturally in a child's environment. Here is a great list of "heavy work activities" you can do with your child at home if they struggle with sensory integration.  This is a list of calming activities put together by Children's: Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota.  Sensory Savy is blog that provides weekly tips/ideas for children who struggle with sensory processing.  The above activities should only be carried out while under the direction of an OT.  If you have concerns about your child's sensory processing, go here to search for providers in your area.  
It looks like there are not any events scheduled in Utah this year, but if you are interested in organizing an event to help raise awareness, check out the SPD Foundation page on tips and tricks for organizers.  You can also contact Susan Geiler for details on how to organize an event, or volunteer for one in your area.  There is also a list of Sensation Celebrations in the U.S. that the SPD Foundation has put together.  

Finally, there is a symposium that will be happening Oct 25-26 in North Carolina, but it will also be offered online!  Go here to get more details.

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