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Sensory Processing and the Preschool Child

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1 Sensory Processing and the Preschool Child
ELP Parent Group Presentation November 16, 2009 Kristin Carbine, MS, OTR/L

2 What is Occupational Therapy?
Occupation refers to the engagement in activities that occupy people’s time and give meaning to their lives. Emphasis is on improving student’s performance in the school environment Interventions are relevant to the school setting

3 Occupational Therapists’ Roles
Explore how to help increase a child’s participation in their occupations by determining what is interfering with the child’s performance Evaluate a child’s motor (movement), cognitive (thinking and reasoning), social-emotional, and behavioral development Focus on improving fine motor skills, eye-hand coordination, dexterity skills, and sensory motor skills With preschool children, the focus of OT intervention is on improving skills through play

4 Sensory Input: A Key Role in School Performance
Key factor in facilitating nervous system function The senses include: Tactile (touch) Vision Smell Auditory or hearing Taste Vestibular (awareness of head and body position in space and movement provided by inner ear) Proprioceptive (input to our joints and muscles that gives us a sense of where we are in relation to space)

5 Sensory Processing Sensory processing refers to the ability to take, interpret and organize input from our seven senses into a meaningful response Children do not passively absorb all the sensations that come along. Rather, they actively select sensations that are meaningful and useful to them. Sensory processing difficulties occur when there is a breakdown there is interference in one or many of the sensory systems. As a result, the central nervous system does not get the information it needs in order to produce an appropriate response.

6 Signs of sensory processing dysfunction?
Inappropriate and inconsistent responses to sensory stimulation Under or over reactive to touch, movement, sights or sounds Difficulty planning and executing actions (motor planning) Poor body awareness (clumsiness) Easily distracted and/or limited attending skills Lack of impulse control Difficulty transitioning between and within activities May also impact speech, language, and general motor skills

7 Preschool Sensory Activities
All children benefit from engagement in sensory activities throughout the day. In the preschool setting, some sensory activities include music and movement games, climbing on playground equipment, playing in sensory tables in the classroom, and engaging in art and craft projects. Through engagement with sensory activities, preschool children learn self-regulation, develop a sense of self, learn how to tolerate a variety of sensory input, and develop attention skills

8 Sensory Processing Myths
Sensory Processing Disorder does not exist Use of weighted materials

9 Questions and Answers

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