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Help for Children with Sensory Difficulties

Debbie FekosYour senses provide joy: a loved one's touch, music, a familiar face. However, for some children, these sensory interactions are not joyful. The inability to integrate the senses of touch, sound or movement may cause anxiety. This can result in behavior that is puzzling for their parents.

Parents have described this behavior to teli Occupational Therapist, Debbie Fekos. Debbie is one of a limited number of occupational therapists in our area certified in Sensory Integration and Praxis Testing (SIPT). "This is the gold standard in sensory testing, evaluating the child across a number of key sensory components including touch, sight, ability to follow commands, motor and balance skills" says Debbie, "At teli, we listen to parents as they describe frequent meltdowns, inability to get out of the house, a child who doesn't like to be touched, or over reacting to noise. These are red flags of potential sensory difficulties preventing a normal happy life for a child."

Over her 18 years as an Occupational Therapist at teli, Debbie has worked with children with sensory difficulties. Often the inability of a child to adjust to their environment may play out in reading and learning disabilities or behavioral issues sometimes interpreted as "bad behavior" when in fact, the child's brain may not be able to organize all of the stimulation into normal activity.

Assessing the child is the first step in the process to integrating self-regulation to help the child adjust and adapt to their environment. To help the child's brain organize the sensory system, sensory based activities are key, through the use of movement. While the SIPT assessments are typically performed beginning at 4 years of age, sensory-based strategies can be used successfully as part of early intervention therapy with infants, to calm what has traditionally been called "colic" as well as toddlers with developmental delays who are unable to regulate sleeping and eating patterns.

Debbie sees the ultimate goal of the therapy as helping the child be successful and happy, integrating into daily activities of living. "At teli, our sensory integration therapy is all about the child and the family and helping them deal with the challenges of sensory difficulties and providing them the tools to prepare for rich and full lives."

Learn more at http://www.telipa.org/professional-staff/staff-profile-debbie-fekos. Review the following typical Sensory Integration Red Flags to look for at http://www.telipa.org/early-intervention/how-do-i-get-help.

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