Identify Your Child’s Sensory Needs

sensory-needsIf you think your child has possible sensory issues or Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), then you need to get your pediatrician to refer you to an Occupational Therapist (OT)–preferably an outpatient/clinic based therapist that is qualified in Sensory Integration therapy. That therapist can give you (the parent/caregiver) a questionnaire to fill out to gather information about your child’s sensory systems.

  • I prefer to use the Sensory Processing Measure (SPM). There is a home form for 2-5 year olds and 5 and up and there are school, music, art, and PE forms for school personnel to fill out as well.
  • If your child is younger than 2 years of age, I like to use the Sensory Profile Infant and Toddler form.
  • In addition to gathering this information, the OT should use clinical observations and may use other standardized assessments to measure visual motor, fine motor, gross motor and bilateral coordination skills.

Insurance looks for standardized scores sometimes for a child to qualify for OT services, but many times children can qualify for private based OT based on professional judgment as long as medical necessity is established in the OT report.

Sensory Modulation
When the OT is designing a treatment plan for your child they will look at what is your child sensitive to? Are they over-responsive, under-responsive or sensory seekers/cravers? Dr. Lucy Jane Miller with the SPD foundation is one of our leading researchers in the field for SPD. She poses these three types of sensory modulation and encourages OT’s to use clinical observations to help parents recognize when their child is displaying a certain type of sensory modulation.

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Britt Collins, M.S., OTR/L About Britt Collins, M.S., OTR/L

Britt is co-author of Sensory Parenting and co-creator of OT DVD Series. She can be found at Sensory Parenting.