Wednesday, November 30, 2022

How sensory integration works in children with intellectual disabilities: “Strategies are sought to be as functional as possible”.

We all receive constant stimulation through our senses. The brain processes them and responds accordingly, in an unconscious neurological process we call sensory integration And this allows us, for example, to take our hand away when touching burning glass or to put on headphones with music on because we don’t like the noise.

stimuli come five basic senses (sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch), and other systems, which are responsible for unconsciously giving us information about our bodies and which greatly affect our optimal development, because when one of them fails, it affects the others. These are:

  • receptive: Regulatory system of the body, which is responsible for informing us about the status of all the organs of our body. This allows us to perform activities such as holding a pencil, wearing clothes or maintaining a stable position without exerting too much pressure.
  • vestibularEar: It is located in the inner ear and gives us awareness of motion, gravity and balance. It is in charge whether we can use both hands simultaneously or we can learn to read and write.
  • interoceptivo: Along with the sense of touch, it gives us the sensation of temperature, pain, fatigue, sleep, the urge to go to the bathroom, or hunger and thirst.

People with intellectual disabilities often have poor sensory integration: “Problems occur when it affects them in carrying out daily routines, In the case of children and adolescents, when it affects their performance in the classroom because it affects their level of attention,” explains unblemished heroOccupational therapist specializing in sensory integration.

A theory designed for children with ASD

sensory integration theory It was developed in the United States in the 1960s by occupational therapist Jean Ayres. The professional worked with children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and realized that many of their behaviors were directly related to their perceptual and motor skills.

Sensory integration provides an explanation for stereotyped behaviors that we do not know why they occur.

Although the study was initially conducted with children with autism, the principle applies to other syndromes such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), “The theory of sensory integration has given many explanations for some stereotypical or disruptive behaviors that we didn’t know why they happened and that, with behavior modification, we couldn’t change. It has been observed that children with ASD and ADHD have problems with their brains. functions differently from us, registers differently and elicits a different adaptive response”, explains the occupational therapist.

children with poor sensory integration are often hyper or hyposensitive That is, there is an increase or decrease in their perception capacity. this condition results the effect of their level of alertness, their emotional state, and their behavior, “There are children who vomit just by tasting a piece of food or others who just by looking at a piece of paper and looking back are lost in their paper, and this hinders them greatly in the acquisition of reading and writing.” affects”. Gallon explains. Hence, this makes them non-functional.

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Activating, Organizing And Calming Activities

may have poor sensory integration Even in people without any kind of disability. “You may have tactile defensiveness and the fact of using plasticine makes you so sick that you vomit,” says occupational therapist. The difference, he explains, is that “people are functional in general because they have strategies to be able to function in their performance.”

warning signs

By the age of 6-8, the child’s brain is more flexible and therefore easier change some neural patterns and to be able to respond in a manner adapted to their genetic predisposition. Therefore, it is important that parents know some of the signs that may alert them that their child has poor sensory integration.

At the hearing level, for example, that “when there is ambient noise, put your hands over your ears loudly, this may lead to a suspicion of hyperacusis”. Regarding the visual field, “one self-stimulates because they look, turn their head, stare at the light…”. On the other hand, on a tactile level, “that there are some textures that you don’t like, problems with toothpaste, gel, it’s bad for them to touch you …”. Furthermore, with respect to the vestibular system, which “turn constantly and get up suddenly and walk so fast or, on the contrary, be too motionless”,

A Mother Helps Her Daughter To Walk

Sensory Profile and Intervention

Works at Inmaculada Los Alamos Special Education School (Madrid), from the Sí Puedo Association, specialized in children with intellectual disabilities. In the center, he explains, the professional performs Student Sensory Profile When you suspect that your sensory integration may be impaired. This profile analyzes the functioning of all sensory systems through a series of open-ended statements that must be scored: “They are statements such as ‘any noise causes desensitization’ or ‘turning the volume up as high as possible’ tries to’.

One of these profiles is operated by the professional and the other by the parents, as they relate to their child in more areas than other aspects. Based on the score, it is determined what sensory profile the child has and Which systems are affected, There are four types of sensory profiles based on the child’s processing patterns:

  • registration profile: Excessively cautious borderline and passive behavior.
  • seeker profile: Highly alert borderline and active behavior.
  • sensitivity profile: Very low alert threshold and passive behavior.
  • avoidance profile: Highly alert borderline and active behavior.

Based on the profile, a sensory diet, that is, a range of strategies that a teacher can use in the classroom. “What happened to us one of our students had a great need for movementHe had an explorer profile and was out of adjustment in the classroom as he used to shake so much from his chair that he used to fall many times and could not focus his eyes. We asked her to identify what she needed and made adaptations in the classroom, such as moving when she needed to or sitting closer to the teacher. We managed to make it more accommodating.” The intervention also depends on the child’s syndrome and their IQ quotient.

Sensory Integration Classes
sensory integration classes
Guadalupe Rivers

In case the clinic or early care center intervenes sensory integration roomwhich is similar to a psychomotor class as it uses elements such as mats, stairs, ramps, blocks to hang the swings, but also ball pools, trampolines and a system of anchors to the ceiling.

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In the intervention, an action plan is drawn up for a maximum of three years, with very specific protocols for working on the systems the child needs to improve the most. one or two weekly sessions, depending on the case. “You work through Play always with materials, so that the child enters gradually and seeks strategies, both he and the family, to implement in his daily life and be as functional as possible”, says Inmaculada. In addition, “you can be a work with families, who give us a lot of information, because maybe you’ve given them a lot Input The baby needs something and it bounces off you and then goes very low or super active”.

Inmaculada In Sensory Integration Therapy With Two Students
Inmaculada in sensory integration therapy with two students
handed over

sensory integration develops from the embryo and can be worked out you drink However, emphasizes the occupational therapist, “We have to have a voluntary part there, an attitude of willingness to participate, In the case of a child, what is taken care of is whether he likes or not”. adults, specifically to identify what happens and what strategies can be applied. “Neural changes are difficult to spot in this case because the brain is not as plastic when they are young,” he adds.

improve your daily life

Will be able to have a child after treatment Form certain patterns of behavior and develop adaptive responses. “He may continue to have that defensiveness or exploratory tendencies, but he’ll already have a strategy for doing what he needs and everything will be more adjusted,” says Gallen.

will have offspring like this more functional and autonomous in their day-to-day life why enhance their learning in the classroom: “You’ll be able to sit down and listen or engage in the work you have to do.” At the same time, he will be able to develop properly in the game and we will prevent him from becoming a victim of social scorn.

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