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The Sensory Diet and Christina

Posted Nov 19 2012 2:45pm
I attended a session at the Connecticut Down Syndrome Congress Annual Conference which really opened my eyes. It was on Sensory Integration Disorder. Here is the blurb.
Sensory Processing in the Child with Down SyndromePresented by Marie Mancini-Oliveira MS, OTR/L, Melissa
Broxton MS, OTR/L. 
This workshop will provide an overview
of Sensory Processing Disorder and how it presents itself
functionally in children with Down syndrome. We will
elaborate on ways to detect whether it’s sensory or behavior,
as well as ways to know if your child could benefit from a
sensory integration based evaluation.
I learned how the low muscle tone, hearing and visual impairment of those with Down syndrome can affect their sense of where their body is in space ( this is called proprioception ) and their sense of balance (vestibular). Therapeutic interventions like swinging, using a therapy ball,  and brushing using a brush like this  Wilbarger Therapy Brush . were discussed and it was amazing to hear how a lack of sensory integration can lead to behavioral problems as our children are trying to tell us that we are not meeting their needs. Almost all the parents in the session had the same issues with their children with Down syndrome; they hated bathing, hair brushing, nail trimming, and haircuts. They did all kinds of extreme things to avoid these behaviors and were shortcircuting relationships, and education by their coping behaviors.  It was a revelation and made me wonder why all the professionals who have worked with Christina had not suggested sensory issues before.
It all comes down to the parent doing the research, attending the workshops and making sure their child's teachers and therapists are on board. It can be an overwhelming responsibility.

 Here's a demo video on brushing.

I did try this on Christina, she absolutely LOVED it, in fact, she brushed Mommy this morning!! I have a PPT meeting on Wednesday about the results of the Sensory Integration Survey and I will need your prayers to be assertive in making sure that Christina has a sensory diet included in her IEP. There is no way that she should be so resistant to going to school as she is, refusing to get out of bed. It took me till 12:45 to get her to school today, only to discover that it was an early dismissal day!
I firmly believe that if we help Christina integrate her sensory input that her non-compliant behavior will decrease and she will be more cooperative and focused, making learning possible. I will document the results here on the blog, so you can make up your own mind if this works.
I would appreciate your prayers as I sensed a lot of resistance on the part of the staff at the last PPT meeting.


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