These include programs to improve sensory processing and responsiveness, such as sensory integration therapies. Additionally, these programs target improved motor control and function, such as physical therapy.
Who is qualified to provide sensory-motor therapies?
You should look for a certified Occupational (OTR) or Physical Therapist (PT), depending on your needs. For some specific therapies, such as Sensory Integration (SI) Therapy, you should inquire if the therapist has SI certification, which requires training and coursework to be qualified. Occupational therapists should be certified by the National Board of Certified Occupational Therapists (NCBOT) and Physical therapists should be certified by the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA).
What does a sensory motor therapy session look like?
There are many types of sensory motor therapies, with goals and objectives being very different for each.
Sensory Integration (SI): The therapist will plan treatment activities which introduce and eventually desensitize a child to problematic sensory stimulations. Over time, the child develops more appropriate responses to and tolerance for different textures, sounds, tastes and smells, for example. A therapy sensation may involve sand play, eating foods with varied textures, rolling on a ball, or wearing a weighted vest, as examples.
A consultation with an OT certified in SI may be helpful in providing recommendations for special equipment or tools such as swings and balls for those needing sensory stimulation throughout the school day, for example.
Gross and fine motor therapies: The therapist will utilize various treatment activities to improve, strengthen, range of motion, and flexibility across targeted muscle groups. The end goal of these therapies is to improve functioning in daily living activities, such as, riding a bike, tying shoes, or handwriting.