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Our son, Kilian, recently diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome, has been attending social skills classes at Spectrum Services Clinic… The small group gives him a wonderful opportunity to learn and extend his abilities in dealing with others and respecting social norms in a safe environment.Julianna and Christian
Parents of Kilian
Sensory Processing is for EveryBody all the time

Laurie Hopkins, OT/PT Department Head

Surprise, surprise…..to be human is to be engaged in sensory processing at all times…..day and night.   With neurotypical individuals, there is a greater likelihood to process sensory information more efficiently and accurately, whereas most individuals on the autism spectrum experience some degree of challenge with interpreting, organizing and productively using sensation, both externally and internally generated.

Clinicians, educators, parents and students will always benefit by learning more about how they personally respond to sensory input, as we are all unique beings.  Having greater insight and understanding of one’s responses to touch, movement, sound, visual stimuli, olfactory and gustatory input, can result in less reactivity when negative sensory experiences occur, whether they be one’s own response or someone else’s.  That is why experts in sensory processing have been emphasizing the area of self-regulation for over 50 years.  There is a keen awareness of the detrimental effect of stress chemistry on the mind, body and emotions of those who struggle with processing sensory information on a neurological level.  
I recently attended a workshop given by Dr. John F Taylor (a pioneer in the field of ADHD research, clinical psychology and the life expertise of parenting 4 children with ADHD).  It was a very gratifying experience to hear him say that, “he became enlightened and embraced sensory processing strategies, after seeing the effect it had within his own family”.  That was quite powerful validation from a leader in the field of psychology.

At the Center for Spectrum Services, therapeutic strategies in the OT/PT/APE department, are geared to help students feel more comfortable and organized in their bodies, by working to improve processing of the foundational “power sensations”; those being vestibular, tactile and proprioception.  Our aim is to prepare students to be alert, focused and ready to engage in their educational programs by “getting them in their bodies” and working from the “inside out”.  We present activities designed to organize the nervous system, by noting what experiences students are craving or avoiding and then exploring more adaptive means of offering the sensory input that can soothe or alert their nervous system.  This is not an exact science, given the uniqueness of being human, however, in my 40 years of practice, I’d have to say it is a most amazing science….a most amazing art and science.