How we can help
At FreshStart Kids Therapy we always use qualified Sensory Integration Practitioners to complete a sensory assessment of your child's sensory processing strengths and difficulties. It is important to identify how any difficulties are impacting on your child's life and ability to complete activities of daily living.
With both direct and indirect assessment options, we can be sure to provide what you need. Some parents simply want to know what their child is struggling with together with strategies to support them. Other parents need a more comprehensive report with evidence for EHCP assessments. Assessment packages include sensory profiling through to comprehensive assessments and reports. We also offer a "tribunal ready" package.
Get in touch to find out more about our range of assessment packages, and which package will meet your needs.
At FreshStart Kids Therapy we offer a range of direct and indirect sensory treatment plans.
Treatment always occurs after an assessment which has identified the child's difficulties. We would always set goals as part of a treatment package. Goals written in a specific way help us to measure how effective therapy was.
The child is provided with a plan that parents and teaching staff carry out in the form of a Sensory Diet, also known as a Sensory Plan.
A Sensory Diet/Plan is an individual plan of activities that provides your child with the sensory input they need to stay focused throughout the day. Sensory Diets are evolving as the needs of your child changes; it is always recommended that they are reviewed.
Our direct treatment is Ayres' Sensory Intergration Therapy.
Ayres' Sensory Intergration Therapy is about making change at a neurological level by building and enhancing sensory pathways in the brain. Through therapy, we work to improve functional outcomes, such as fastening shoe laces, handwriting and riding a bike.
Blocks of Ayres' Sensory Integration Therapy sessions can be provided using specialist sensory equipment by a qualified Sensory Integration Practitioner. The sessions mostly involve playing and children experience them as having fun.
"Hi Kerry, just want to say how absolutely life changing your help, support and advice has been." Rebecca Mellor, parent
What is Sensory Integration?
Sensory integration theory was first developed in the 1970's by Dr Jean Ayres, an occupational therapist and educational psychologist. Dr Ayres' pioneering work theorised that sensory integration is crucial to the development of motor and cognitive skills, and ultimately academic performance and behaviour.
Since then she worked tirelessly to develop assessment and treatment strategies which have benefited thousands of children across the globe. Researchers globally are building evidence around this condition including evidence around the benefits of Ayres' Sensory Integration Therapy.
Common difficulties with processing sensory information can be around recieving too much information to the brain, this can feel overwhelming and sometimes distressing. Other experiences are when the brain is not receiving enough sensory information leading to children seeking extra information or being very passive.
Some children have difficulties controlling their own bodies because the brain is not interpreting information correctly and the senses are not working well together. An example of this is when catching a ball: a child needs a good sense of where their body is through the proprioceptive and tactile systems, combined with information from the vision system to enable them to accurately catch a ball.
Sensory Integration is the process by which our brain interprets and uses information from the body and environment.
Our eight sensory systems are:
- Vision - using our eyes
- Auditory - using our ears
- Tactile - using touch through the skin
- Olfactory - using smell
- Gustatory - using taste
- Vestibular - using our sense of balance and movement
- Proprioception - knowing where our body is in space
- Interoception - our internal senses, such as feeling hungry
Children with poor sensory integration can find life more challenging than other children and can have a range of behaviours and difficulties, for example:
- Poor attention
- Poor coordination
- Poor balance
- Difficulty doing two handed tasks, such as using cutlery
- Lying with head on desk
- Fidgeting in seat
- Clowning around
- Excessive movements
- Handwriting difficulties
- Poor pencil grip
- Avoidance of certain tasks or environments
- Struggling in busy environments
- Covering ears
- Making a lot of noise
- Fussy eater
- Low muscle tone
- Dislike of hair and nail cutting
- Poor attainment at school
- Poor social skills
- Constantly "on the go"
- Dislkie of certain materials
- Risk taking
As there are multiple patterns of sensory integration difficulties, the list of observable behaviours is long. A full assessment of your child's sensory processing can help identify which sensory pattern they have and how behaviours and difficulties with activities relate to your child's sensory integration difficulties.
It is never too late to identify sensory-related difficulties, but the earlier we can help, the greater benefit therapy offers