Sensory processing disorder (SPD) is a condition in which the brain has trouble receiving and responding to information that comes in through the senses. Essentially, the sensory signals do not get organized into appropriate responses. Children with this disorder are not able to properly process and act upon information received through the senses, which causes them difficulty performing numerous everyday tasks. Some children with SPD are overly sensitive to things in their environment, for example common sounds may be painful or overwhelming or the touch of a shirt can hurt the skin. Others may be uncoordinated, bump into things quite often, or be hard to engage in conversation or play. Like many other disorders, the symptoms of SPD occur within a range of severity. For many individuals, the symptoms are chronic and severe enough that they disrupt daily life.
Ascent Children’s Health Services has a top-rated developmental program that is effective at helping all children diagnosed with sensory processing disorder. We have the ability to treat many different development concerns under one roof and we can help you and your child learn to manage their disorder and get back to enjoying life again.
Why Seek Treatment for Sensory Processing Disorder
Sensory processing disorder can affect one of the child’s senses, such as touch, taste, and hearing, or it can affect multiple senses at once. Some children with this disorder are over-responsive to their particular difficulties, while others are under-responsive. As the severity of symptoms exist on a spectrum, for one child the sound of police sirens outside can cause them to hide under the bed, being touched may cause them to scream, or they may be unable to eat certain foods due to the texture. Other children may be completely unresponsive to the stimuli around them, for example failing to detect extreme cold or heat.
If not treated effectively, SPD can cause motor difficulties, behavioral problems, depression, anxiety, failure in school, and other negative life consequences. As a result of problems with motor skills and skills need to be successful in school, children with SPD often become socially isolated, causing low self-esteem and other emotional issues. Additionally, they may lack the ability to make friends or become part of a social group. They tend to be labeled as clumsy, disruptive, uncooperative, or out of control. In response, a child may develop depression, anxiety, aggression, or other behavioral problems.
With effective treatment, the symptoms of this disorder can be managed. If you suspect your child may have a sensory processing disorder, an outpatient or day treatment program can help by evaluating your child and providing you with necessary skills to overcome this disorder. An outpatient program can also work with you to better understand SPD and learn better ways to interact with your child, leading to a happier home environment.
Program Philosophy and Benefits
At Ascent Children’s Health Services, we make it our top priority to provide a multidisciplinary, developmental, and therapeutic setting that maximizes each child’s level of development and readiness for entering back into their home environment. Through nurturing the child as a whole, our staff paves the way for each patient to take full advantage of their potential, which enables them to attain successful recovery. We recognize that each child is a unique individual that has specific treatment needs. By enhancing the social, emotional, cognitive, and physical development of each child, we can be sure that they receive the most appropriate and effective level of care. At Ascent, we offer comprehensive, individualized treatment plans and can provide a multitude of different therapies under one roof.
Treatment Options for Sensory Processing Disorder at Ascent Children’s Health Services
Before any treatment can begin, your child will first undergo a series of developmental and mental health assessments. These assessments will be conducted by our multidisciplinary team of licensed, experienced, and qualified staff members who are dedicated to the overall wellbeing of your child. The results of these assessments will help us determine the severity of your child’s sensory processing disorder and the presence of any other mental health issues, and will help us to develop a treatment plan that will best suit the individualized needs of your child.
Occupational therapy: The most common form of treatment for children with SPD is occupational therapy, which is conducted in a sensory rich environment and usually includes parent participation. Regardless of the severity of your child’s SPD, occupational therapy will help them learn how to function better at home and at school. During occupational therapy, your child will be guided through fun activities that will not only challenge them, but also allow them to be successful. The goal of this type of therapy is to foster appropriate responses to sensation so that the child is able to behave in a more functional manner. This will allow children with SPD to be able to take part in normal childhood activities such as playing with friends, excelling at school, eating, dressing, and sleeping.
Physical therapy: Some children with sensory processing disorder will need physical therapy in addition to occupational therapy. Physical therapy sessions are designed to help promote the development of gross motor skills needed for everyday activities. This type of therapy can also help increase flexibility and stimulate learning abilities through sensory integration activities.
Speech therapy: Speech therapy is often also required to help children with sensory processing disorder as it tends to affect the acquisition of speech. Speech therapists will help children work on sound development.
Feeding program: Our feeding program can also be an effective form of therapy as some children with SPD can struggle with chewing, swallowing properly, or have properly developed oral and facial muscles. Typical sessions would include having children with oral sensitivities try various foods or try eating in a different manner such as sucking or sipping.
Family involvement: Finally, family involvement is one of the most important aspects of the treatment process for children with this disorder. Parents will work with therapists to learn more about their child’s sensory challenges and learn how to engage them in therapeutic activities at home. Other individuals who have regular interactions with the child, such as a teacher, can also be provided with ideas as how to interact with you child.
As we are a holistic treatment center, Ascent offers a variety of experiential therapies that compliment traditional interventions. These may include:
- Handwriting Without Tears
- Sensory rooms
- Therapy gym
- Feeding clinic
- Nutrition and wellness
Continuing Care and Levels of Treatment
Initial evaluations will help us to more precisely determine which level of care and treatment program will be best suited for your child’s mental health or developmental needs. Our center offers a day program, a school-based program, and a summer program for all of our patients. Additionally, we have 24-hour crisis intervention, should an emergency arise. Our CHMS and RSPMI programs allow children and their families to ability to receive rehabilitation, early intervention, and prevention of long-term disabilities. Additionally, our CHMS services include speech therapy, occupational therapy, and physical therapy all on an outpatient and day treatment basis.
When your child no longer requires our services, we take the time to help your child transition back into their home and usual school-based setting. We have a formal discharge process that involves providing your family with education and community resources needed for continued recovery success. Additionally, we provide in-home follow-up visits to check on the process of all of our clients.