Entries by Shannon Phelan

9 Ways to Make Gym Class Successful for a Child with Sensory Processing Disorder

A class full of students in an open gymnasium can make for a very overwhelming experience for a child with sensory processing disorder. Echoing voices, shoes squeaking on the floor, whistles blowing, the smell of sweat and cleaning agents, bright colors and moving objects are enough to increase anyone’s stress level.  Throw in the demand […]

Primitive Reflexes: What Are They and Why Do They Matter?

What are primitive reflexes? Primitive reflexes are foundational motor responses to sensory input that appear in utero or shortly after birth for the purpose of defense and survival. They are the foundation for higher level motor, cognitive or intellectual processes that develop as a child matures and takes on increasing demands.  Most primitive reflexes integrate […]

Sensory Experiences in Nature

School is out and summer time is finally here! After months of being cooped up inside, it’s time to take full advantage of the warm weather, longer daylight hours, and extra free time that summer affords us. Nature offers an incredible array of sensory experiences that are vital for our children’s development. Whether you live […]

Understanding Sensory Processing Disorder: Olfactory System

Although our olfactory system, or sense of smell, is working all day, we generally only notice scents that produce some sort of emotional response or connection. Whether it is a foul smell that tells us to plug our nose or the pleasant aroma of baked goods that draws us in, odors have a distinctly strong […]

Understanding Sensory Processing Disorder: The Gustatory System

The gustatory system, or our sense of taste, allows us to recognize the five basic taste sensations of sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and umami. This sense is meant to keep us safe from ingesting things that are toxic, spoiled, or inedible. It plays a very important role in eating and drinking but is not the […]

Understanding Sensory Processing Disorder: Visual System

Most people have heard the saying that their “eyes are playing tricks” on them. This is a very real phenomenon for everyone at one point or another, due to the complexity of our visual systems. The visual system uses light to detect information through our eyes and then interprets or makes sense of that information […]

Understanding Sensory Processing Disorder: Proprioceptive System

Proprioception, sometimes referred to as the sixth sense, informs us of our body position in space. Receptors for this system are located primarily in our muscles and relay information on muscle length and tension. This allows us to know where our joints are positioned as well as the amount of force against our body and […]

What To Expect In A Pediatric Occupational Therapy Evaluation

Whether your child has already been referred to an occupational therapist (OT) or you’re simply wondering if this would be a helpful route, there are a few things to know going into an occupational therapy evaluation. Occupational therapists are concerned about an individual’s level of participation in daily activities that are important to him or her. […]

Understanding Sensory Processing Disorder: Vestibular System

The vestibular system might not be one of the five basic senses we were taught as children, but it is arguably the most fundamental sense. It is the first sensation a fetus experiences prior to birth and as our other senses develop, they in many ways depend on the vestibular system to integrate properly. Along […]

Understanding Sensory Processing Disorder: Auditory System

“I know there’s nothing wrong with her hearing but I have to call her name 100 times!” Sound familiar? Much like the tactile system, discussed in the previous post of this series, the auditory system refers to our ability to take in information, process it, and produce an appropriate response. When a child overreacts to sounds or […]