Sensory Integration and Praxis Test
The Sensory Integration and Praxis Test (SIPT) is a sophisticated and psychometrically sound assessment tool based upon the theoretical concepts and research hypotheses of Dr. Jean Ayres, Occupational Therapist, which evolved over a 40-year span of her work. The SIPT is a norm-referenced, performance-based test, which consists of 17 subtests for children ages 4 years to 8 years, 11 months. More specifically, the SIPT is a standardized method to assess praxis and the various foundational aspects of the tactile, proprioceptive, and vestibular systems that underlie irregularities often seen in learning or behavior (Ayres, 1989). Based upon the assumption that both learning and behavior are functions of the brain, the SIPT can be used as a model to help define the basis for learning and behavior disorders and help guide treatment as well as measure progress.
Tomatis® Sound Therapy
Eating a sandwich. Talking on the phone. Vacuuming the carpet. Throwing a ball. These actions all have one thing in common: they cause your brain to process sensation. It’s called “sensory integration,” and for most people, it’s effortless. Yet for millions of others, they pose a challenge. As many as 1 in 20 struggle with everyday activities: they have trouble organizing sensory signals into appropriate responses. This might result in an unusual aversion to noise and light, or the inability to engage in conversation, ride a bicycle, or use a pencil, fork, or knife. Poor sensory integration often goes undiagnosed and is not considered a stand-alone disorder. When untreated, it can lead to low self-esteem, social isolation, communication difficulties and emotional or psychological struggles. Over 50 years ago, pioneering French physician Alfred A. Tomatis developed an effective solution. Focusing on hearing (our brain’s most important sensory integrator), he developed The Tomatis Method®, a sensory stimulation program that tones tiny muscles in the ear, building powerful multi-sensory pathways in the brain. Improving hearing transformed the way that Tomatis’ patients processed sensory information. Today, the Tomatis Method® and its patented technology literally changes the ear and how a child listens, restoring his or her potential for a full, rich, and confident life. This form of therapy is delivered as an intensive therapy either in the clinic or at home. It consists of listening to music for 2 hours a day for 13 days. This intensive form of therapy is typically repeated 2 more times with a 4-6 week break in between each intensive. It has demonstrated a profound positive impact on regulation, attention, emotion, communication, coordination, social interaction, developmental disorders and academic difficulties.
Forbrain ~ use your voice to boost your brain. This is a tool, which is used primarily at home. It is used to help improve speech pronunciation and fluency, reading comprehension, active working memory, concentration and/or attention, energy level, confidence level and/or vocal quality. The Forbrain is worn by placing the wraparound headband behind your neck with the transducers resting on the bone in front of your ears, not in your ears. The sound (your own voice) is immediately picked up by the microphone and processed by a dynamic filter, which amplifies the “linguistic frequencies”. The child then hears his/her own voice with a concentration on the frequencies, which help promote improved listening, learning, attention and overall energy/mood. The sound is transmitted via bone conduction, vibration in one’s facial bones, on each side of the temporal bone. Between Tomatis®
intensives, Forbrain is recommended for about 10 minutes per day.
The Interactive Metronome is a computer-based program, which improves timing in the brain or temporal processing. Good or efficient temporal processing allows for good attention to task, reading comprehension, remembering information, processing of speech and motor coordination. Children with ADHD, Auditory Processing Disorder, Autism, Dyslexia, Brain Injury and Reading Challenges often have these neural timing deficits and benefit from this program. Interactive Metronome is typically delivered as an intensive program 3-5 times per week. The new dynamic audio-visual feedback games help to keep children interested and involved to encourage higher repetitions of the exercises. Interactive Metronome Home is a great alternative for those who cannot come into the clinic at as intensive rate allowing sessions to be completed at home while being monitored in the clinic.
Masgutova Neurosensorimotor Reflex Integration (MNRI® Method)
Dr. Masgutova, a Developmental and Educational Psychologist had an early interest in the study of reflexes. Her work is based upon the primary movements and reflex patterns, which we are born with, that are key elements of human development and are essential to our survival. They are also considered to be fundamental neurological building blocks for learned movement, higher-level skills and cognitive development. Often times, children with various challenges, have retained reflexes. When child development is disrupted for whatever reason, overstimulation to sensory stimuli, brain injury, developmental delays or other stressful events, retention of certain reflexes occurs to help protect their systems. Work aimed at providing precise stimuli to activate the reflexes and other exercises to help the motor experience of the reflexes can create more efficient neurological pathways. We are therefore not trying to inhibit these reflexes, but allowing them to function more efficiently. This can have a positive impact on a child’s body awareness, attention to task, sensory processing, motor skills, self-image and interaction with others. This is a gentle type of intervention and can easily be carried over at home as part of your child’s home program. We use our knowledge from courses attended to incorporate reflex integration into our practice.
Integrated Listening Systems (iLs)
Dr. Ron Minson and his wife, Kate O’Brien Minson, after looking for a solution to their daughter’s dyslexia, developed Integrated Listening Systems. During their search they found success using Dr. Tomatis’s sound therapy and found their daughter’s improvements to be significant. As a result, Dr. Minson went to study under Dr. Tomatis to incorporate sound therapy into his own practice and later developed his own sound therapy system. Integrated Listening Systems (iLs) is a less intensive sound therapy program combined with visual and motor activities. This program is typically done 3-5 times per week, both in the clinic and at home. Because it is less intensive, it takes longer to complete the program, but can be just as effective. The sound is delivered by both air and bone conduction. By providing appropriate auditory as well as visual and motor stimulation, iLs helps the nervous system develop and efficiently process sensory information. As a result we see improvements in attention, reading and math skills, auditory processing, communication, memory, organization, planning, emotional regulation and self-esteem.
Yogapeutics is a form of yoga, called Aerial Yoga, used with children who have sensory processing difficulties with a focus on regulation and mindfulness. Pediatric Occupational Therapist and Yoga Instructor, Lindsey Lienek is the creator of Yogapeutics. It combines the science behind our brain’s sensory system and the mind/body connection of yoga practice. As children become more regulated, they become more peaceful and show improvements both at home and at school. We use the yoga hammock as a fun alternative to the standard suspended equipment and find that it also helps with body awareness, motorplanning, strength, endurance, balance and so much more. The best part is that children don’t even know they are working so hard. They are just having fun!
Therapeutic Listening was developed by Occupational Therapists Sheila Frick, OTR/L and Colleen Hacker, OTR/L. Therapeutic Listening uses sound training along with sensory integrative activities, which emphasizes vestibular stimulation and postural movements. This sound training is typically done at home for 30 minutes each course of music, twice a day. It is a less intensive form of sound therapy and the entire process can take about 6 months. Sound is delivered through air conduction. The sound stimulation used in Therapeutic Listening is designed to set up the nervous system and prepare it for emergent skills. As a result we see improvements in perceptual, motor, attention, and learning difficulties.
Handwriting Without Tears
Handwriting Without Tears is a wonderful way to learn to identify letters, the correct way to form letters, sizing and spacing when writing and how to use the lines when writing. It uses a multisensory approach to handwriting and can be adapted into a child’s current handwriting curriculum. It is an easy-to-learn approach, which is fun for children. Research shows that it is still important to learn to write. Children who learn to write by hand demonstrate improved creativity and fine motor skills. Because handwriting is being introduced at such a young age, it is important for children to learn the correct way to hold a pencil or the correct way to form a letter. It is especially important before bad habits begin that can have a negative impact on the speed and legibility of their writing later on. Handwriting remains the primary tool used to communicate within classrooms. With that being said, keyboarding is also important especially in today’s modern world. We often use Keyboarding Without Tears in conjunction with learning to write.