PRACTICAL SENSORY PROGRAMMES FOR STUDENTS WITH AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER AND OTHER SPECIAL NEEDS

Reviewed by Kathy O’Grady, Senior Psychologist

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A highly effective way of working with people with autistic spectrum disorder is sensory integration therapy. In Sue Larkey’s recently published Practical sensory programmes for students with autism spectrum disorder and other special needs, she has demystifies sensory integration and makes clear some of the mystifying behaviours associated with autism. Autism spectrum disorder is characterised by the inability to integrate or make sense of sensory experiences. A child, for example, might constantly put their fingers in their ears if they are hyperacoustic or sensitive to certain sounds or frequencies. Sensory integration is the organisation and processing of sensations from different sensory channels, such as touch, sight, hearing, smell, taste and movement for meaningful use.

This practical book encourages every person to use sensory integration as a meaningful way of understanding and helping the person with sensory issues. Six helpful steps are given: Step 1 – Assessment and sensory checklist. Step 2 – Specific sensory aims and strategies. Step 3 – General sensory programme activities. Steps 4, 5 and 6 for Programming, Evaluation and Re-Assessment.
Positive behaviour supports break down the behaviours, the sensory issues and activities by using sensory activities as rewards and desensitisation. The book looks at ways to help an overwhelmed child in relaxation, using more sensory activities and using visual supports in sensory programmes.

Parents and frontline staff will find this workbook a rich source of fun ideas for improving sensory processing in autistic spectrum disorder with techniques that are easily adaptable for people with other special needs.

PRACTICAL SENSORY PROGRAMMES FOR STUDENTS WITH AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER AND OTHER SPECIAL NEEDS, by Sue Larkey (2006), Jessica Kingsley Publishers, ISBN 1-84310-479-2 Price €17.99.

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