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Five things you can expect from a sensory processing screening

Medical Therapy

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  Written by Judith K. Eckerle, MD, Director of the Adoption Medicine Clinic, University of Minnesota; Megan Bresnahan, occupational therapist; and Laura Jean child welfare advocate on 28 Jan 2016

Originally posted July 10, 2015 University of Minnesota Health Blog

photo credit James Bovin

Sensory processing disorder is like a traffic jam in the brain.

Typically, our brain takes in and processes all the information about our environment that our senses provide. After our brain processes the information, it allows us to respond in the appropriate way.

But when a child’s brain is affected by sensory processing disorder, the brain is not able to arrange and correctly process information from the senses, making it challenging to respond appropriately. This disorder makes it difficult for children to complete routine childhood activities.

Children in foster care or the adoption system have often experienced chaotic or disrupted early childhoods. This early adversity can contribute to the development of sensory processing delays or disorder.

Care providers at the University of Minnesota Health Adoption Medicine Clinic routinely screen children for signs of sensory processing issues. Our team includes Adoption Medicine Physicians Judith Eckerle, MD, and Cynthia Howard, MD, Occupational Therapist Megan Bresnahan and Physical Therapist Susan Jacobsen. Together, they evaluate a child’s global development skills (referring to “norms” for children from specific countries and backgrounds), will educate parents on the findings and may recommend activities to complete at home or services to consider.

Here are five things you can expect from the screening process at our Adoption Medicine Clinic.

Personalized attention from an adoption physician and occupational therapists who have special training and expertise in adoption medicine
Our providers have seen and assessed many children who have experienced early deprivation or disrupted childhoods.

Valuable experience. 
Our University of Minnesota Health physicians, physical and occupational therapists have traveled abroad to work with children in orphanages and know firsthand the problems of institutional care. We can apply therapies to help children once they are home.

Multi-dimensional analysis. 
The screening includes a review of your child’s medical and sensory history and an assessment of your child’s gross and fine motor skills, activities of daily living, physical strength and cognitive function. An occupational therapist will test these areas by playing fun, developmentally and age-appropriate games with your child. The therapist will discuss your concerns and answer any questions.

Educational assessment. 
In this part of the process, your child’s academic readiness and skill level will be evaluated. Our therapist can make recommendations for school and identify necessary accommodations and environmental modifications to minimize any difficulty your child may experience in school and to maximize your child’s opportunity for success.

Actionable results. 
Our staff will identify therapeutic interventions to meet the specific needs of your child. This may include ongoing treatment with a rehabilitation specialist and/or a home program with activities parents and children can do together to help improve skills.

The AMC has been a trusted partner for over 25 years. We help children in foster care and children who join their family through adoption make a smooth transition into family life. We create ongoing success and enable them to overcome medical and developmental challenges caused by early adversity.

Learn more about the University of Minnesota Health Adoption Medicine Clinic.

Please contact us to find out how to prevent and overcome long-term medical, developmental and mental health challenges for your child. Let the AMC be your trusted partner, helping you meet the needs of your child so they can reach their potential for a happy, healthy future.

Our physicians are available to speak to your family about our services or answer any specific questions.

 




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