I have been an occupational therapist for 18 years, and have always had a passion for working with children. I've dreamed of having a mobile sensory clinic for years and now it's time for it to hit the road. I'm looking for your support to bring my mobile sensory integration clinic to rural communities in Southern Alberta. The mobile sensory clinic will bring services right to your door. No more drives to Lethbridge, or Calgary. I'm looking to prove that this is a necessary service and to raise $10,000 to convert the school bus into a fully equiped fun and save environment for learning and sensorimotor development. It's time to get this bus on the road!
Sensory integration refers to the way the nervous system receives messages from the senses and turns them into appropriate motor and behavioral responses. Sensory integration is the foundation for learning and behavior. "Typically" developing children explore their environment, through movement and play, and spontaneously process sensory information and respond to challenges in the environment. When the signals don't get organized into appropriate responses we see breakdown in learning, behavior, and daily activities. It's like a traffic jam in the brain, which creates challenges performing everyday tasks. A child may over respond to sensation (touch, the feeling of their clothes, being bumped, having a haircut, unexpected noise, scents, bright lights)in a fight, flight or fright state; or a child may seek more intense sensations making it difficult to sit still, pay attention, everyday activities may seem boring or mundane to seeker.
The idea of a sensory integration clinic is not a new concept. A.Jean Ayers developed and tested this theory and it is used around the world in child development centers and occupational therapy clinics.
The idea that I am presenting is a mobile sensory integration clinic, a converted bus that will visit rural communities in southern Alberta. The bus will be equipped with specialized sensory equipment to create a sensory rich environment, and staffed by myself, an experienced occupational therapist with specialized training in sensory integration. Children can visit the bus by scheduling appointments on the days the bus will be in their community. The occupational therapist will set the bus up with just right challenge to provide and control sensory input in such a way that the child spontaneously responds to challenges, which leads to better organization of behavior. For example: a child who cannot sit still and becomes disruptive in class can learn how to choose equipment and activities in therapy that will satisfy his need for movement and enable him to sit for longer periods of time to complete work at his desk. The therapist can then make recommendations for home and school activities.
The bus can also be reserved for birthday parties and local events.
The mobile sensory clinic will allow rural communities like Pincher Creek, where I live, to access specialized services that are available in urban centers. It will help children be comfortable in their own skin and reduce the stress on families of children with sensory needs. I have knowledge and expertise using sensory integration frame of reference to help improve behavior, learning, daily functioning, coordination and motor skills. Do you know what it’s like to drive 2 hours to a specialist appointment with a child who can’t sit still, or over-responds to everyday sensations? By supporting the Sensational Path campaign you are bringing sensory integration therapy to children and families of Southern Alberta and decreasing the stresses of families of children with special needs.
You can support the campaign by pre-purchasing services for yourself or someone you know, for your school, daycare or for a community event.
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