Friday, October 10, 2014

October: National Sensory Awareness Month

One of the things I love about being an Occupational Therapist is figuring out a child's sensory needs. We all have our sensory regulation techniques. Some people chew gum, or bite their nails, or jiggle their foot while in a meeting to keep awake. These are all socially acceptable ways to integrate our sensory system. But what happens when these techniques aren't enough?

Children may develop sensory habits at a young age that end up being socially unacceptable or unexpected. Some may understand the purpose of these activities, but many others will not. They see a child rocking or flapping their hands as something weird or different. As an OT, I work to teach a child other socially acceptable or expected ways to integrate their sensory system, or provide enough input to not need the additional input from another source.

Most people learn the five senses/sensory systems in preschool and kindergarten (taste, touch, smell, hearing and vision), but there are several more that affect our everyday lives, including the vestibular (movement) and proprioceptive (position in space) systems. These seven systems are all addressed by an OT and can cause many different behaviors when they are not integrated.

To help explain the sensory system, and to raise awareness for National Sensory Awareness Month, Mama OT posted a great explanation in her October 5th blog post, which you can find here.



 Shelly is loving the cooler weather and the snuggly puppy that comes along with it!

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