Sensory Enrichment Therapy

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Sensory Enrichment Therapy is an intensive treatment that uses sensory experiences to enable the brain to compensate for a wide range of challenges. The treatment involves sensory and motor exercises that concurrently stimulate two or more senses such as olfactory, tactile, visual, balance, motor systems, etc.

At Speranzawe use a safe multisensory approach to help children with sensory processing issues. A increase your child’s brain plasticity to improve daily life from home with simple touch, smell, temperature response, and balance exercises.

The good news is that the brain is like a muscle, the more you use it the better it does. And just as a workout can help develop better muscle tone, exercising the sensory pathways in the brain can help the brain improve its ability to process the real world, comfortably.

Temple Grandin, PhD, describes it as an innovative therapy that is easy and simple to do. It may help many children.

Environmental enrichment has three innovative features:

  • Always changing the stimulus
  • Stimulating two senses simultaneously
  • One of the sense is always either smell or touch

Sensory Enrichment Foundation plays an essential role in the therapy. Incorporating environmental enrichment throughout the day provides the brain with an optimized environment for increased development. The Sensory Enrichment Foundation will increase the impact of the therapy sessions.

See the difference Sensory Enrichment Therapy can make for your child’s sensory processing issues.

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  • Reacting strongly to different textures of clothing
  • Overresponding to loud sounds (washing machines, hair dryers or sirens)
  • Oversensitivity to odors
  • Withdrawing from light and unexpected touch
  • Challenges with certain movements
  • Physical symptoms: clumsiness, poor balance, delayed fine motor control
  • Standing too close to others
  • Dislike of teeth-brushing, hair washing, or nail cutting
  • Gagging and refusal to eat textured foods
  • Avoidance of messy textures such as dirt or lotion
  • Noticing faint background noises

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Clinical Studies Validate Sensory Enrichment Therapy as an Effective Autism Treatment

Results showed that after 6 months of therapy 42% of the children in the sensory enrichment group achieved clinically significant improvement, compared to only 7% of the children in the standard care group.

Sensory Enrichment in addition to Behavioral Therapy for Treating Autism

New research published by the American Psychological Association in the journal Behavioral Neurosciencedocuments the first successful experiment with humans using a new type of sensory treatment for boys with autism. Called sensory-motor or environmental enrichment, the treatment gradually introduced young boys with autism to new tactile and olfactory sensations.

Researchers found marked improvement in boys treated with the sensory enrichment therapy compared to boys undergoing a standard course of behavioral therapy.

Sensory motor treatment is based on the premise that autistic people have difficulties with over-stimulation and sensory integration. Some of the most pronounced problems for autistic people involve sensitivity to smell and touch, and as such, the researchers decided to focus their treatment on those two senses.

The study drew upon a lengthy history of research on environmental enrichment for animals, which had documented the neurological implications of the treatment. The research team hypothesized that the treatment would also have beneficial effects in autistic human children. Researchers followed two groups of autistic boys, aged three to 12. One group participated in sensory enrichment and the other followed a course of behavioral therapy. The sensory enrichment group members received a kit containing things like essential oil fragrances and squares of various materials. Parents of children in this group were instructed to conduct two sessions daily of four to seven exercises to introduce different combinations of stimuli to their children.

This therapy continued for six months, after which 42% of children in the enrichment group improved significantly. There were better able to relate to people and respond to visual and auditory stimuli. Of children in the behavioral therapy group, only 7% showed improvement.

Furthermore, 69% of parents of children in the sensory therapy group reported improvements in their child’s autism symptoms, compared with only 31% in the control group. Study co-author Cynthia C. Woo, PhD explained that one reason that sensory enrichment therapy is important is “Because parents can give their child sensory enrichment using items typically available in their home.” As such, it “provides a low-cost option for enhancing their child’s progress. ” With the success of this initial study, the research team is now conducting a larger clinical trial that includes girls. Their next target will be testing environmental sensory therapy independent of other treatments.

Who needs it?

  • Normal development
  • Autism and/or Pervasive Developmental Disorder
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder
  • Children with problems of attention, concentration and motor areas
  • Intellectual disability
  • Down’s Syndrome
  • Sensory issues
  • Learning disability with problems in reading, writing, mathematics etc.
  • Memory and other cognitive issues
  • Adults with stroke, aphasia etc.

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