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.
Yesterday, to a conference in Ireland Kath Smith presented about the journey she started in 1998 when she first treated her first adult in the UK using ASI. The presentation was built on an original one presented at an RCOT Conference in 2003. This journey has been awesome – it is where she met her now colleague and fellow Director of ASI Wise Ros Urwin and was encouraged and mentored by world leaders in ASI, themselves taught by A Jean Ayres. It is more than 20 years since both Ros and Kath started to build on the early research and evidence base publishing their own research, developing tools and resources to support first their own and then the practice of others. They have taught therapists and nursing staff in the UK and across the globe how to work with adults with mental health difficulties with sensory integration challenges. Learn about the application in ASI on our modular programme – ASI Wise CLASI Certification in ASI and our 2-day workshop which explores the application of ASI across the lifespan.
Pain and sensory integration difficulties including sensory sensitivity are thought to be features in manydisorders including CFS/ME and hyper mobility. Recent research and evidence is exploring the links.
Abstract “Sensory modulation disorder (SMD) affects sensory processing across single or multiple sensory systems. The sensory over-responsivity (SOR) subtype of SMD is manifested clinically as a condition in which non-painful stimuli are perceived as abnormally irritating, unpleasant, or even painful. Moreover, SOR interferes with participation in daily routines and activities (Dunn, 2007;Bar-Shalita et al., 2008;Chien et al., 2016), co-occurs with daily pain hyper-sensitivity, and reduces quality of life due to bodily pain. Laboratory behavioral studies have confirmed abnormal pain perception, as demonstrated by hyperalgesia and an enhanced lingering painful sensation, in children and adults with SMD. Advanced quantitative sensory testing (QST) has revealed the mechanisms of altered pain processing in SOR whereby despite the existence of normal peripheral sensory processing, there is enhanced facilitation of pain-transmitting pathways along with preserved but delayed inhibitory pain modulation. These findings point to central nervous system (CNS) involvement as the underlying mechanism of pain hypersensitivity in SOR. Based on the mutual central processing of both non-painful and painful sensory stimuli, we suggest shared mechanisms such as cortical hyper-excitation, an excitatory-inhibitory neuronal imbalance, and sensory modulation alterations. This is supported by novel findings indicating that SOR is a risk factor and comorbidity of chronic non-neuropathic pain disorders. This is the first review to summarize current empirical knowledge investigating SMD and pain, a sensory modality not yet part of the official SMD realm. We propose a neurophysiological mechanism-based model for the interrelation between pain and SMD. Embracing the pain domain could significantly contribute to the understanding of this condition’s pathogenesis and how it manifests in daily life, as well as suggesting the basis for future potential mechanism-based therapies.”
Many Occupational Therapists using a sensory integration approach in their clinical practice have worked productively and mindfully with children, adults and older adults with trauma. Our unique education and training facilitates our practice in a range of settings- schools, mental health settings and hospitals, where as a profession we are tasked to address barriers to participation in everyday life.
Occupational Therapists are uniquely placed to be able to offer not only cognitive behavioural and occupation based activities.
Neuroscience now provides us with the evidence to support our practice of Ayres’ Sensory Integration with our clients with trauma – confirming our understanding about how trauma impacts early and ongoing sensory and motor development, underlying physiology and levels of arousal and attention.
Now and into the future, we will need to further consider the evidence for how inter-generational trauma manifests in underlying neurobiological processes that underpin function – the sensory, motor and cognitive building blocks of participation in everyday life.