Applied Behavior Analysis

Sensory Integration

Sensory Processing’ is the way in which the nervous system receives sensory messages and generates them into responses. The majority of us are born with the capacity to receive sensory information and organize it effortlessly into appropriate behavioral and physiological responses. For example if we are cooking toast and smell it burning we don’t have to stop and think what to do. We unconsciously interpret the information into a behavioral response of rushing to the kitchen and turning off the toaster. Simultaneously our body produces a physiological response; increased heart rate, rise in blood pressure, fine sweat. (Adapted from Miller, 2006)

What is Sensory Processing Disorder?

Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) is an inability to process information received through our senses for generating appropriate responses. The result of this is a decreased ability to respond to sensory information in order to behave in a meaningful & consistent way. It can also lead to difficulty in using sensory information to plan and organise our own body & make sense of the environment in which we function thus impacting on our ability to learn. (Adapted from Miller, 2006).

What are Some of the Indicators of a Sensory Processing Disorder?

There are many ways in which a SPD can present. Below are just some of the difficulties:

  • Under-reactivity to certain sensations e.g. not noticing name being called, being touched, high pain threshold
  • Seeking increased amounts of auditory, tactile or movement input e.g. making noises to self, constantly touching objects/people, being “on the go”
  • Easily distracted, poor attention and concentration
  • Poor motor skills; appears clumsy, reduced coordination, balance and motor planning skills, poor handwriting skills
  • Poor sleep patterns
  • Difficulty engaging in grooming tasks e.g. hair-brushing, hair-washing, nail cutting etc
  • Heightened reactivity to sound, touch or movement
  • Appears lethargic/disinterested; appearing to mostly be in own world
  • Difficulty regulating own behavioural and emotional responses; increased tantrums, emotional reactive, need for control, impulsive behaviours, easily frustrated or overly compliant
  • Difficulty mastering activities of daily living e.g. dressing, tying shoe laces, self-feeding
  • Restricted eating habits or picky eater

Treatment for SPD

We make occupational therapy enjoyable and children generally like participating in occupational therapy sessions despite how hard they are working! The aim of therapy is to reinforce the body’s ability to responds to sensory messages so that it can generate a meaningful responses. Another goal of occupational therapy is to educate parents, caregivers, families, childcare workers and teachers to provide a context which is receptive to the child’s sensory processing style.

Under the guidance of a therapist, the child actively takes in sensation through a playful context. It aims to provide a neural platform which promotes the development of more complex skills by freeing up the higher cortical levels which are currently being used to process sensory information. Therapy guides the child along the path to success—and they enjoy every step of the way!

The specific goals of occupational therapy using a sensory integration framework are to improve the person’s social participation, self-esteem, self-regulation and sensory-motor abilities.

What are the Expected Outcomes of the Treatment?

There is no known cure for SPD however there is the capacity to evoke change. Some of the changes which parents, teachers, childcare workers and families can expect to improvements in the following areas:

  • Attention & focus
  • Self-regulation with responses being better matched to their environment
  • Fine motor skills
  • Oral motor control and improved eating habits
  • Increased engagement, interaction and development of play skills
  • Improved sleep patterns
  • Becoming less or more responsive to sensation received
  • Postural Control
  • Praxis (motor planning), balance & coordination
  • “Evenness” or more regulated emotional & behavioural responses
  • Communication, articulation and social skills
  • Visual motor integration
  • Increased learning opportunities

Client Testimonies

January 05, 2011

Posted by Sabrina

My two year old son went to the Children’s Center after spending a year at another therepy center. The first couple of weeks I saw a difference in my son. Dana, the Director, is amazing. She is not only a great speech pathologist but she also knows about other therapies. After a couple of visits she told me that my son was exhibiting immature hand posture and low muscle tone. She urged me to get an OT and PT evaluation. We found that my son was also significantly delayed in these areas as well. I went to see a Neorologist who within our 20 minute session diagnosed my son with Childhood Apraxia of Speech. I told Dana the diagnosis and without hesitation she STRONGLY disagreed. She then urged me to get an MRI. So I did just that and thank goodness we did. The MRI found a cyst in my son’s brain. The cyst was putting pressure on the brain stem and shifted the midline of the brain. This surgeons believe this may be the cause of my … to the Children’s Center after spending a year at another therepy center. The first couple of weeks I saw a difference in my son. Dana, the Director, is amazing. She is not only a great speech pathologist but she also knows about other therapies. After a couple of visits she told me that my son was exhibiting immature hand posture and low muscle tone. She urged me to get an OT and PT evaluation. We found that my son was also significantly delayed in these areas as well. I went to see a Neorologist who within our 20 minute session diagnosed my son with Childhood Apraxia of Speech. I told Dana the diagnosis and without hesitation she STRONGLY disagreed. She then urged me to get an MRI. So I did just that and thank goodness we did. The MRI found a cyst in my son’s brain. The cyst was putting pressure on the brain stem and shifted the midline of the brain. This surgeons believe this may be the cause of my son’s delays! It takes a lot of confidence and courage to tell someone not to go with what a neurologist says…most people would have found a new SP. Thank you Dana for advocating for my son. The world needs more professionals like you who care more about the patient and less about the financial benefit.


August 10, 2009

Posted by One Mom

“Our boys made great progress, the training you provided to us at the end as well as the feedback were really helpful. We would like to come back next year”


August 09, 2008

Posted by One Mom

“My son made great progress and is thriving in his new class. At the end of last school year it was recommended that he start this school year with a shadow, but now thankfully that is not going to be necessary. He is functioning well in a typical classroom without any additional support.”


November 19, 2008

Posted by One Mom

After originally starting my daughter with another therapy center (for her speech, or lack there of), I moved my daughter to Children’s Center for Therapy & Learning and couldn’t be happier with her progress. My daughter has been going to Children’s Center for just under a years time. The improvement we have seen is truly amazing. I have had parents at my daughters school approach me as well as her teacher to tell me how verbal she has become,how well her speech has improved etc…. The facility is always clean and inviting. The staff is professional and friendly.


August 28, 2008

Posted by One Mom

“The changes in my child were tremendous. I received a call from my child’s school this year and I was so worried that they were going to say something bad like last year. They asked me what I did this summer and I told them about your camp, they now want to see if you can come to my son’s school to work with the other children”


February 08, 2007

Posted by One Mom

“Children’s Center For Therapy & Learning … our 2-year-old was not talking at all and we have seen great progress since starting therapy here… a nice, spacious facility… a wonderful new therapy room has a great rock climbing wall and other exciting therapy tools… a warm loving …”?


April 07, 2005

Posted by One Mom

“Professional, team-approach services for all of your needs. Speech, occupational therapy, physical therapy, tutoring, behavior intervention, psychotherapy. Warm loving environment. Knowledgeable staff. We have seen incredible results with our children’s speech.”


March 23, 2004

Posted by One Mom

Not doctor, but speech therapist. Excellent and reasonable.