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A PARENT'S ROLE          
AND          
SENSORY INTEGRATION DYSFUNCTION'S
IMPACT ON EDUCATION        


This comes after hearing from a parent that her son's school would not 
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 Autism 
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?

Try this:     Turn on the radio, but don't tune it.   Leave it on static and fuzz. 
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 
condition.

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 more information. 
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, make an 
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 your child 
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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