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Case Study: Autism, Sensory Integration; Behavioral State Regulation

🕑 2 minutes read
Posted August 22, 2017

Name of Organization: Children’s Therapy of Woodinville, PLLC

Associate Name: Doreen Hunt

Age/Gender of Client: Six-year-old girl with autism

Previous Therapies and Programs:

  • ABA and OT services on and off since the age of three
  • Speech Therapy
  • iLs Sensory & Motor

Presenting Problems

  • Gravitationally insecure, extremely over-responsive to vestibular sensory input
  • Difficulty in auditory and visual sensory processing
  • Poor behavioral and state regulation (emotional outbursts, screams, hyper-silly behaviors)
  • Difficulty transitioning
  • Poor eye contact, poor visual tracking and hand-eye coordination
  • Delayed gross motor and bilateral motor planning skills
  • Reversed letters and numbers, writing is larger in size

Therapeutic Goals

  • Improve vestibular-visual-auditory integration
    • Improved self-regulation, calm behavior
    • Improved attention, learning and participating
  • Improve social engagement
    • Eye contact, turn-taking
    • Flexible behavior to increase friendships and overall happiness
  • Improve gross motor skills and bilateral motor integration
  • Improve fine motor strength and control
    • Decrease tremors
    • Increase legible, age-appropriate handwriting skills

Programs Used

  • iLs Sensory & Motor program 1-20 (now the Focus System)
  • SSP x 5 days
  • For one month following the SSP, no sound/music intervention (to determine effects of SSP on functional changes, for research purposes)
  • Resumed iLs Sensory & Motor program 20-60
  • Repeated SSP x 5 days after 3 months
  • Combined program: Sensory & Motor 1-20, Concentration & Attention program 12-40

Summary of Changes

  • More flexible, less fear and rigid behaviors: improved vestibular processing
    • Better vestibular input: able to climb on and off moving equipment more easily and independently
    • Able to explore and play on playground equipment: climbing up ladders, slides, swings
  • Improved receptive language speed of processing
    • Follows verbal directions more quickly
  • Significant increases in expressive language
    • Began to use “I” statements, used new words parents had never heard her use before, longer utterances (five-to-six-word sentences with good pragmatics); had a reciprocal conversation with hairdresser during haircut
    • Improved articulation reported by Speech Therapist

Progress following Second SSP Program

  • One week later, she learned to hold her breath and swim with her face in the water
  • School work has improved:
    • She raised her hand and answered a question to her peers in first grade; teacher had never seen this before
    • Doing homework has improved substantially
    • Fewer reversed writing of letters or numbers
  • She followed directions at the doctor’s and answered all questions appropriately. Pediatrician noticed the significant changes from her last visit.
  • She can approach someone, make eye contact and ask, “Hi, what’s your name?”
  • Continued improvements in all functional behaviors, listed above
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