Did you know that sensory paths are beneficial for kids with learning disabilities? That’s right: sensory paths can help children with learning disabilities catch up to their peers, especially those with SPD (sensory processing disorders).
A 2014 study at UC San Francisco found that kids with sensory processing disorders have decreased structural brain connections in different regions than those with autism. The study, which was published in the journal PLOS ONE, was the first to compare structural connectivity differences between children with SPD and those with autism. But besides being hard to diagnose, SPD can often encompass a broad range of disabilities.
“Children with SPD struggle with how to process stimulation, which can cause a wide range of symptoms including hypersensitivity to sound, sight and touch, poor fine motor skills and easy distractibility,” wrote Science Daily in an article covering the study. “Some SPD children cannot tolerate the sound of a vacuum, while others can’t hold a pencil or struggle with emotional regulation. Furthermore, a sound that is an irritant one day can be tolerated the next. The disease can be baffling for parents and has been a source of much controversy for clinicians who debate whether it constitutes its own disorder, according to the researchers.”
SPD is often treated by working with an OT (Occupational Therapist). Many OTs use a method called OT-SI, which involves using enjoyable activities that stimulate and challenge the senses without overwhelming the patient. This is where a sensory path can come into play. Sensory paths, remember, are exercises designed to stimulate specific senses in children and form neural pathways to help them learn and develop throughout life. A good sensory path will hit all five main senses, while also stimulating spacial awareness and balance. And, of course, it has to be colorful and fun so that the kids don’t get bored. Sensory paths shouldn’t be a chore to accomplish, and here at Fit and Fun Playscapes, we believe we’ve done just that.
“As a Pediatric Occupational Therapist, I can’t speak highly enough of Fit and Fun Playscapes,” said Pepper Franchina-Gallagher BS/MS OTR/L, owner of Coastal Kids Occupational Therapy. “Fit and Fun Playscapes is our go-to for our kiddos at Coastal Kids!”
But sensory paths can also benefit kids with attention deficit disorder (ADD or ADHD) since some 40 percent of people with attention deficit disorder have an SPD, according to the website ADDitude. A sensory path could be an excellent way to treat both disorders at the same time by stimulating the senses while also giving kids with attention deficit disorder a high-energy activity to participate in.
What do you think about sensory paths being used to treat kids with sensory processing disorders? Did you know that 40 percent of people with attention deficit disorder also have a sensory processing disorder? Let us know!