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Addressing Sensory Integration Across the Lifespan Through Occupational Therapy

Jan 05, 2012 -- 7:27 am
Occupational therapy practitioners (occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants) support an individual’s ability to engage in every day occupations or activities and acquire skills to promote function. Occupational therapy practitioners consider the basic foundations of human development that affect activities of daily living, learning, play, work, social skills, and behavior using a variety of approaches. Deficits in sensory processing can pose a challenge to occupational performance of these activities and occupational therapy practitioners have specialized knowledge and skills in addressing the sensory needs of individuals with and without disabilities, across the lifespan. Occupational therapy practitioners work in a variety of settings to address sensory needs of children and adults. Services may be provided in school, clinic, home, or community settings.
As a natural part of typical development, children process, interpret, and respond to sensory information. When occupational therapy practitioners address the sensory needs of individuals, they consider the registration, modulation, organization and interpretation of information gained through the senses: sight, sound, smell, taste, touch, and perception of movement and position. Occupational therapy practitioners recognize that well-regulated sensory systems can contribute to important developmental outcomes in social-emotional,
physical, communication, self-care, cognitive, and adaptive skill development.
Five to fifteen percent of children in the general population demonstrate difficulties with sensory modulation (SMD) (Reynolds, et al, 2008). For many of these children, occupational therapy can help. There is a growing body of scientific evidence to support the importance of the sensory systems in human behavior and occupational performance (Baranek et al, 2002; White et al, 2007). Research has also provided indirect support for the use of a sensory integrative approach to intervention. (Baranek, 2002; Miller & Schoen, 2007). To download the entire article, please click download below.

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