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Case StudySSPSensory Sensitivity

Highly intellectual child builds capacity for increased emotional functioning after the Safe and Sound Protocol (SSP)

🕑 4 minutes read
Posted November 29, 2023

The information presented in this case study was submitted by the identified provider and reviewed by the Unyte Clinical Team. Modifications to the text have been made solely for the purpose of enhancing comprehension and clarity for the reader’s benefit, and were carefully applied while ensuring the accuracy and integrity of the original submission. Unyte Health makes every effort to use updated terms and inclusive language, this case study retains the author’s original descriptions to be most sensitive to the client’s identity and preferences.

About the Provider

Name: Anna Bolanowska
Disciplines/credentials: SFBT Therapist, clinical psychologist 
Modalities: Safe and Sound Protocol (SSP), solution-focused brief therapy (SFBT), acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), rational behavior therapy (RBT)

Client Background

Name: Berry (pseudonym) 
Age and Gender: 9-year-old boy
Program Delivered: Safe and Sound Protocol (SSP) Core (Hours 1-5)

Berry is a brilliant and curious child. There were no major complications at birth or during early infancy and no delays in reaching early milestones. He has no serious medical problems and takes no regular medications. His diet is rather restrictive but his sleep patterns are described as mostly age-appropriate. Berry speaks Polish and English, and is also exposed to Arabic at school.

When Berry turned 3, he became increasingly sensitive to changes in his routine and needed substantial support from his parents to become more flexible. He started showing signs of giftedness in terms of language, as he learned to read very early, learned the alphabets of various languages, and was able to understand complex mathematical concepts. During this time, he also began a variety of therapies across multiple years, including applied kinesiology for three years, music therapy for four years, and sensory disintegration therapy for three consecutive summer sessions. 

At the age of 8, he was referred by his teachers to be assessed as they became concerned with some aspects of his functioning in class. He was having difficulty accepting changes in his school routines, emotional control and hyperactivity. After meeting with the school psychologist, further tests were suggested for possible attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or autism. Berry underwent detailed psychological assessments, which included a semi-structured interview with his mother; Wechsler Scales for Children Fifth Edition (WISC-V); Clinical Assessment of Behavior (CAB) provided by parent and teacher; and Sensory Processing Measure (SPM) and observation at home and during the testing session at the assessor’s office. 

Berry scored extremely high in terms of intellectual ability. In terms of sensory processing, some elevated concerns were noted, especially in the school environment across visual, hearing and body balance domains. 

Berry was very open to experiencing the SSP and was interested in the process. He asked many questions about the equipment and the protocol itself. Berry’s parents were looking for additional therapeutic options to address challenges highlighted by the recent assessments noted above, which is when they found the SSP. 

During the first consultation with provider Anna Bolanowska, the following treatment goals were defined by Berry’s parents: 

  • Improve accepting changes to his daily routines.
  • More frequent participation in games and play with Berry’s peers at school and his brother at home.
  • Improve his ability to emotionally self-regulate. 
  • Reduce the frequency and severity of anger and frustration outbursts.
  • Diversify his daily diet and introduction of new foods.

Implementation of the Safe and Sound Protocol (SSP)

Berry’s provider Anna delivered the SSP Core to Berry in person daily for a typical listening session of 15 minutes. Anna provided co-regulation as she sat with him throughout the sessions. During this time, he was also attending speech therapy. 


After three weeks of the SSP, Berry began to accept changes in his daily routines. He had noticeable improvements at school and home, becoming calmer and improving his tolerance of unexpected situations. He reduced his reading time, which had been his main leisurely activity, to spend more time playing with his brother, and began to seek physical contact like hugging. 

His teachers reported significantly higher engagement in the games played at school and highlighted noticeable, positive changes in his emotional self-control. His emotional outbursts became shorter and much less frequent. The diversification of Berry’s diet had limited success; he tried new kinds of food but generally did not integrate them long-term. 


“Berry’s case was one of the most spectacular in my experience with [the] SSP,” Anna said. 

His parents and teachers noticed changes in his behavior and attitude very soon after he began the SSP. Berry’s parents shared that among the various support protocols they have tried, the SSP proved to be one of the most efficient.  

“In my view, [the] SSP was a perfect match to Berry’s needs and freed his development potential,” Anna said. “The protocol helped to elevate his emotional and self-regulatory capabilities.”

Anna shared that the SSP was a good fit for a highly gifted and intellectual child like Berry, who was being developmentally impacted due to emotional issues. She believes the SSP is a particularly good fit for students who are highly talented but struggle with aspects of the school environment. The only thing she would have changed was introducing the SSP two to three years earlier at the beginning of his school curriculum. 

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Discounted Safe and Sound Protocol (SSP) training and certification, an annual subscription, and Deb Dana come together to equip you with all the essentials to begin your journey as an SSP provider. Plus, receive a credit to the Unyte Care is Core bookstore to expand your professional library or self-care toolkit!

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