In this 2022 article; “Muting, filtering and transforming space: Autistic children’s sensory ‘tactics’ for navigating mainstream school space following the transition to secondary school.”, the take-home messages are:
There are sensory challenges in mainstream school environments for ASD children.
Working with young people post-transition to secondary school has highlighted these challenges.
Sensory challenges exist across the school environment: Classrooms, lunch halls, playgrounds and even corridors can feel overwhelming.
Muting, filtering and transforming space ‘tactics’ are ways that young people deal with feelings of sensory overload.
Teachers, parents and therapists can use this understanding of these sensory tactics to support the design of more inclusive school spaces.
Dr Yana Wengel is an associate professor at Hainan University. Yana takes a critical approach to tourism studies; her interests include volunteer tourism, tourism in developing economies and nature-based tourism. Her dissertation examined the social construction of host-guest experiences in volunteer farm tourism. Her current projects are focused on nature-based tourism and leisure and travel experiences of patients with an eating disorder. Yana is interested in creative methodologies for data collection and stakeholder engagement. She is a co-founder of the LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® research community.
Here is another study reminding us about the sensori-motor differences typically co-occurring in Autism.
Sensory registration and discrimination are necessary for praxis. Information from the vestibular system, tactile and proprioceptive systems are especially important, and work together with information from the visual and auditory systems to help us know what we are doing in any given moment. Then when we get new information (when something happens in our own body or from the world around us) this “happening” can triggers our sensory system into action “Right body, brain just registered things have changed – time to do something different”. And then our brain uses this new information, alongside what we already know from past to learning, to create and choose from a list of next possible actions, choose the one that is likely to result in best possible outcome. Then our brains help us and plan the sequence and orders the what we will do and the how. As we carry out and action our plan, the brain via the senses monitors the what and how do we adapt and alter our actions in the here and now, hopefully ensuring a successful outcome.
Difficulties registering and perceiving sensory input can interfere with and discombobulate that process as any step or stage, resulting in sensory motor challenges that can disrupt process that should ensure successful outcomes in a person’s participation in everyday life.
Assessment of sensory differences for clients with Autism should extend beyond Sensory Profiles, reactivity and modulation. Comprehensive testing with tools like the SIPT and EASI will help ensure comprehensive testing to identify strengths and difficulties to inform person specific intervention planning.
When supporting other therapists to interpret their clinical data, I find a common theme tricky patterns emerging while trying to make sense of assessment data. It is always helpful to remember to explore and reference the latest supporting evidence.
Dr Susanne Smith Roley reminded our Module 6 delegates of this just last night. She emphasised the importance of staying up to date and using evidence from the last 5 or so years to support our clinical reasoning, as the evidence base about ASI is rapidly expanding, mainly within our domain of practice, occupational therapy. There is also a raft of evidence in related fields like ENT, neurology, mental health, trauma and other related areas. We need to search widely. This reminder from Susanne was the perfect timing for a conversation this morning and my reflections on that conversation this morning.
In summary; we should all remember to link our clinical findings with the latest research and evidence. This means we should link our evidence searches to the clinical patterns we suspect may be emerging from our assessment data.
If it doesn’t make sense – keep looking and exploring. Go back and ask more questions. Clinical reasoning is about data from a range of sources pointing to and in sync with performance and participation challenges.
Data from standardised testing, questionnaires, narrative and interview and clinical observations provides a holistic and individualised view of your client’s strengths and challenges. Exploration and understanding of their interests will allow you to capitalise on what will motivate them in therapy; supporting engagement and creating the right conditions of neural plasticity needed for therapeutic change.
Emerging evidence suggests that children with attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) present more difficulties in standing and walking balance than typically developing children.
During and post Covid-19 many of us who work with adults using sensory integration theory and principles are being asked about ways to help this client group post Covid-19 rehab. Join us to share resources, knowledge and learning about the senses and sensory integration about neuro-rehab including from Covid-19. Join in our community of practice on Telegram.
Our Telegram space includes articles including about stimulating the sense of smell and the importance of movement.