This comes after hearing from a parent that her son's school would
administer OT to her child because "SI doesn't impact education".
Although I know this is common in public and private education, I was
moved to respond.
In preparation, I was reminded that many parents at our local
Society of America meetings don't know what OT or SI are. Their children
are not receiving OT at school or privately. I decided to share this with
you all, for those who are unfamiliar with OT and SI. In this post, I am
focusing on SI, but remember, Occupational Therapy is also used for fine
and gross motor delays which many of our special needs children have.
I can't imagine a case of untreated SI that doesn't interfere
with a child's
education. If the child is distracted and annoyed by sounds, sights,
movement (or lack of), touch, smells and tastes (among other sensations)
how could these irritants not interfere with his/her education????
Is this possible?
Turn on the radio, but don't tune it.
Leave it on static
Turn it up. Ask someone to turn the lights on and off, at will. Strap yourself
into a broken chair that is missing a leg and use a table that is off balance -
you know the ones in restaurants that makes us all so mad. Now, put on some
scratchy lace in place of a comfy T-shirt, put your pants on backwards and wear
shoes one size too small. Pour a bowl of grated parmesan cheese, open a can
of sardines and bring the cat box to the table. Now, snack on your least favorite
food; the one you NEVER eat because it comes with a gag reflex. With all this
in place, pick up a new book and learn something new! How can anyone claim
that SI problems don't interfere with education??
On a more personal note, my son was originally seen by an insightful and
compassionate rehab clinic that offers st, ot, pt, music therapy and more.
After their initial observation of my son, I was told that he "may" have PDD,
was exhibiting autistic tendencies and needed st and ot. I was advised to
give therapy a six month trial before seeking further medical opinions and
that his progress or lack there of would be a good indicator of his true
At that time, my three year old son and I attended private ot
and st for two
years while my son also attended special ed preK with speech and ot pull
outs. My son continued to progress, though slow at first, then in spurts, then
leaps and bounds. His prognosis has gone from "probably PDD, might never
marry or have children, may never become totally independent, may never
communicate normally" to a 6 year old child that is regarded as completely
typical by his peers, parents, teachers, and other professionals. I attribute
most of his success to his ot programs, the brushing technique/joint
compressions and sensory diet.
Since the day I first heard the term PDD, I began a search for
When I didn't think my son met all the criteria for PDD, I continued my search.
Finally, I read the book "The Out of Sync Child: Sensory Integration Dysfunction"
and found were my son "fit".Like autism spectrum disorders, the effects of SID
are wide ranging from the mild to the severe. And like most children with
an autism spectrum disorder, my son had the signs and symptoms of SID.
I consider SID a related disorder and I continue to participate with advocacy
and support groups like my local ASA chapter and the many online listservers
that specifically serve parents like me.
If your child has symptoms of sensory integration dysfunction,
appointment with an occupational therapist who has SI experience.
It might make a world of difference....it might change the life of your child
and the dynamics of your family.
Finally, don't wait for the information to be delivered. You know
better than all others. Educate yourself about your child. Learn everything
you can about your child's unique challenges and gifts. Then promote those
areas and share your perspective with all those who wish to help you to
help your child.
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