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Sensory Processing in Adults with Developmental Disabilities Is it Sensory or Behavior

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Title: Sensory Processing in Adults with Developmental Disabilities Is it Sensory or Behavior


1
Sensory Processing in Adults with Developmental
DisabilitiesIs it Sensory or Behavior?
  • M. Janet Thomas, M.Ed.,OTR/L
  • And
  • M. Lenora Brasher, OT
  • Georgetown University Center for Child and Human
    Development

2
Objectives
  • Define Sensory Processing
  • Describe What is Sensory Integration
  • List all of the Sensory Channels
  • Describe characteristics of high and low
    thresholds
  • Discuss how Sensory Systems can impact behavior
  • Come up with sensory strategies to facilitate
    adaptive behaviors

3
Sensory Processing
  • Sensory Processing is the ability to take in
    sensory information, register that information
    and respond

4
Sensory Integration
  • The ability to organize sensory information for
    use in daily life and respond adaptively

5
Examples of Sensory Integration
  • The ability to seek comfort and security in the
    embrace of a loved one
  • To regulate attention to task
  • The ability to anticipate and show awareness of
    safety
  • To regulate activity level

6
Sensory Channels
  • Tactile or Touch
  • Vestibular or Movement
  • Proprioception or Deep pressure
  • Vision
  • Auditory
  • Taste/smell

7
Tactile System
  • Touch input
  • Discrimination
  • Protection

8
Tactile Characteristics of high and low thresholds
  • High thresholds
  • Touches people to the point of irritating others
  • Doesnt seem to notice when face and hands are
    messy
  • Overstuffs mouth
  • Low thresholds
  • Grooming is a challenge (hair cuts, tooth
    brushing)
  • Bothered by tags
  • Will only wear certain clothing
  • Moves away when others are too close

9
Vestibular or Movement
  • System located in the inner ear that provides
    information about where our body is in space, and
    whether or not we or our surroundings are moving.
    Tells us about speed and direction of movement

10
Movement Characteristics of high and low
thresholds
  • High thresholds
  • Rocks back and forth
  • Is in constant motion has difficulty sitting still
  • Low thresholds
  • Is afraid of heights
  • Dislikes riding in a car
  • Becomes dizzy easily
  • Avoids balancing activities

11
Proprioception or Deep Pressure
  • System activated by muscle activity that tells us
    where our body parts are and how they are moving.
    This system leads to body awareness.

12
Body Awareness Issues
  • Exert too much or not enough pressure when
    handling objects
  • Constant dropping of objects
  • Does not seem to notice when clothing is twisted
  • Tires easily
  • Weak grasp
  • Seems accident prone

13
Visual System
  • Provides information about people and objects.
    Helps us to define boundaries as we move through
    space

14
Characteristics of Visual Processing Issues
  • Appears uncomfortable in strong sunlight
  • Has difficulty scanning the environment
  • Difficulty finding objects against a cluttered
    background
  • May pay attention to detail and fail to see the
    whole

15
Auditory System
  • System located in the inner ear that is
    stimulated by sound waves. Gives information
    about sounds in the environment

16
Auditory Characteristics of high and low
thresholds
  • High thresholds
  • Appears not to hear even when called
  • Fascinated by certain sounds and repeats them
    often
  • Low thresholds
  • Defensive to sounds may cover ears
  • Easily distracted by sounds
  • Constantly makes noise to block out other sounds

17
Gustatory and Olfactory
  • Systems of taste and smell. Receptors are located
    on the tongue and in the nasal structure

18
Taste/Smell Characteristics of high and low
thresholds
  • High thresholds
  • Excessive need to smell items/people
  • Craves strong taste eats toothpaste
  • Does not seem to smell even strong smells
  • Pica
  • Low thresholds
  • Poor tolerance to perfume
  • May gag easily
  • Has many allergies

19
Multisensory
  • Many sensory experiences are multisensory

20
Multisensory Issues
  • Seems oblivious within an active environment
  • Gets lost easily
  • Has difficulty paying attention
  • Looks away to notice all actions in a room

21
Modulation or Self regulation
  • Use of sensory inputs to remain organized, alert
    and adaptive

22
Sensory Profiles
23
Sensory Diets
  • Sensory inputs or strategies that promote
    adaptive functioning

24
Sensory Preferences
  • In the words of Williams and Shellenberger, to
    know thy nervous system is to love thy nervous
    system and others.

25
Sensory Tools
  • Oral
  • Movement and deep pressure
  • Touch
  • Visual
  • Auditory

26
Detective Work
27
Soper, G., Thorley, G. C. (1996).
Effectiveness of an occupational therapy
programme based on sensory integration theory for
adults with severe learning disabilities.
British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 59 10,
475-482.
  • A study on adults who displayed sensory deprived
    behavior such as teeth grinding, tactile
    defensiveness and self-stimulatory behavior.
  • All were tested using behavioral checklists,
    Ayers Scale of Adaptive Responses, and clinical
    observations.
  • The experimental group received one hour of
    sensory integration treatment per week
  • The control group received one hour of time in a
    Snoezelen-type room per week.

28
Results
  • At the end of nine months the sensory integration
    group did significantly better in vestibular,
    proprioceptive and general responses than the
    control group.
  • The researchers concluded that sensory
    integration procedures are useful in helping
    older children and adults to participate in
    activities and to minimize tactile defensiveness
    and problems of balance and posture.

29
Smith, S. A., Press, B., Koenig, K. P.,
Kinnealey, M. (2005). Effects of sensory
integration on self-stimulating and
self-injurious behaviors. The American Journal
of Occupational Therapy, 594, 418-425.
  • A study comparing the effects of sensory
    integration approach and table top activities on
    the frequency of self-stimulating behaviors in
    children with PDD and mental retardation.
  • Children were pre and post tested with the
    Sensory Integration Inventory Revised for
    Individuals with Developmental Disabilities.
  • The study took place over four weeks. During
    week one and three the children received table
    top activities such as sorting, puzzles, and peg
    boards. During week two and four the children
    received sensory integration intervention.

30
Results
  • This study found that one hour after treatment
    with the sensory integration intervention
    self-stimulating and self-in injurious behaviors
    declined. After one week of table top activities
    the self-stimulating behaviors increased.
  • Activities rich in vestibular, tactile and
    proprioceptive input were beneficial in reducing
    the maladaptive behaviors.
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