Here are The Sensory Gym we offer comprehensive occupational therapy evaluations and reports. If you are interested in booking in your child for an evaluation please don't hesitate to call or email us to discuss your needs. Our lovely office staff can provide you with any help or further information you may need. All new Clients need to complete the following questionnaires & reutrn them to our office prior to their initial appointment date. For any clients using your NDIS funding you must also provide us with a copy of your child's current plan.
Treatment Intensive Programs
The Sensory Gym strives to provide the types of service that are truly helpful to families and children. Treatment intensives, or the opportunity to work in a concentrated manner with a client over a short period of time, provide a framework where therapists can maximize use of their treatment skills and the cutting edge therapy techniques available at The Sensory Gym to optimize potential for change.
Treatment intensives are customized to the individual client; however, typically, a client is seen for 3-10 consecutive days, 1-4 hours per day. During the period of intensive treatment, services are tailored to the client, and might include use of advanced auditory techniques (Berard Auditory Integration Training©, Therapeutic Listening®, SAMONAS, bone conducted listening, Interactive Metronome®), application of Floortime™ principles, integration of higher level auditory and visual skills, true intensity in heavy work, postural and ocular motor training, training and teaching of self-regulatory skills, and implementation of sophisticated sensory diet plans incorporating “traditional” sensory integrative techniques as well as breath, movement, rhythm, and sound. Home programming recommendations and support are provided at the end of the intensive to maximize the “open window” that the intensity of treatment has created.
Families are welcome to include additional therapists and home treatment teams as part of the treatment intensive as providing opportunities for therapists’ learning and practice is also a goal of The Sensory Gym. If this is desired, The Sensory Gym must be notified in advance to insure that the clinic space physically allows for the addition of people during the times the treatment intensive is scheduled.
The cost for treatment intensives varies per client based upon the length of the intensive and the duration of daily sessions. The fee covers a brief written treatment summary and recommendations following completion of the treatment intensive. Any equipment purchased (whistles, headphones, CDs, etc.) will be an additional charge.
The Sensory Gym is able to provide information regarding lodging and travel arrangements if this would be helpful information for your family.
The Interactive Metronome® is another auditory-based intervention effective with individuals who experience difficulties with motor planning and sequencing and other neural timing difficulties which underlie challenges with learning, cognitive and social skills. Occupational therapists have long understood that motor planning and sequencing are key facets in the development of functional skills. They have traditionally addressed these difficulties with sensory integrative techniques and “top down” cognitive approaches for teaching specific skills.
The Interactive Metronome® is a computer–based version of the traditional music metronome. From existing studies and clinical reports, the most promising areas of use include motor planning and sequencing difficulties, rhythmicity and timing difficulties, primary motor control problems, language and speech difficulties, learning difficulties, cognitive problems, and social and communicative difficulties. Stanley Greenspan, a psychiatrist and clinical professor of psychiatry at the George Washington University Medical School, is the Director of Research for the Scientific Advisory Board of the Interactive Metronome®. He states that “the ability to plan and sequence action emerges early in the first year of life. It is essential for adaptive motor development and language development.” He goes on to state that “it is essential for complex social behaviour involving a number of sequential steps, such as sharing toys, complex greeting patterns, or simply playing with others.” In a letter to parents, Greenspan reflects, “the research using this tool strongly indicates new hope. This method may enable children to improve underlying processing abilities for motor planning and sequencing, strengthening their most fundamental learning capabilities.”
The Interactive Metronome® program provides a structured, goal-oriented process that challenges the client to synchronize a range of hand and foot exercises to a precise computer-generated reference tone heard through headphones. The client attempts to match the rhythmic beat with repetitive motor actions. A patented auditory-visual guidance system provides immediate feedback measured in milliseconds, and a score is provided.
Over the course of the treatment, change can be expected for clients in the following areas:
- Focus and attention for longer periods of time
- Increase physical endurance and stamina
- Filter out internal and external distractions
- Improve ability to monitor mental and physical actions as they are occurring (increase impulse control)
- Progressively improve coordinated performance
A program utilizing the Interactive Metronome® entails a minimum of 15 hours of treatment. The typical training schedule is a minimum of 3 times per week. In studies, a treatment protocol of less than 3 times per week was not shown to be as effective. More detailed review of current research can be found at www.interactivemetronome.com.
The DIR®/Floortime™ approach was developed by Stanley Greenspan, M.D., and Serena Wieder, Ph.D. The acronym “DIR” stands for:
Developmental Model – phases of typical social-emotional development are described by the model, these phases being the building blocks for problem solving, thinking, and social interaction; the model is a child-directed model
Individual Differences – the individual, unique biological and sensory processing profile of the child is considered, with particular interest in how individual differences might impact smooth progression through the developmental phases
Relationship-Based – the model is also relationship-drive; the strength of the relationship between parent and child, and secondarily, the therapeutic relationship established between therapist and child is the most vital element in helping the child progress when typical development has been hindered due to biological, environmental, or developmental causes
The DIR®/Floortime™ model builds on the three concepts above to create intervention programs based on a child’s unique individual profile and rate of developmental progression through clearly defined social-emotional stages. While DIR® is often referred to as Floortime™, Floortime™ is actually one component of a comprehensive DIR-based intervention program. Floortime™ focuses on creating emotionally meaningful learning interactions that encourage the basic developmental capacities. A comprehensive DIR® program may include semi-structured problem-solving activities, speech therapy, occupational therapy, peer play opportunities, and other complementary therapies and approaches.
Reference: Engaging Autism (2006); Greenspan, S. and Wieder, S.
Our primary goal here at The Sensory Gym is to provide the types of services that are truly helpful to families and children, The Sensory Gym offers a number of special groups. We recognise that our clients must function in many other environments more challenging than the “rarified” environment of the clinic gym. Therefore, our group programs aim to fill needs in the child’s intervention plan and support the child in “real life” situations, most especially meaningful interaction with peers. Our group programs provide an opportunity for staff to work with children in dyads and small groups that don’t overwhelm the child. Our group programs are another way we strive to support the “whole” child, within the context of family and community.
All of our current & possible upcoming groups will be posted on this page.
FUN WITH FOOD GROUP - Please contact our office for more information.
PRESCHOOL PALS GROUP - Please contact our office for more information.
ADVENTURE GROUP - Running in term 1 & term 4. Please contact our office for more information.
WHAT IS SOUND THERAPY?
Given the sheer volume of information available on auditory interventions, parents have a formidable and unenviable task in selecting the clinician and type of program most suitable for their child’s specific needs.
Reality is that each of the forms of auditory intervention available has something to offer and that each may have points of applicability for an individual child. A clinician trained in several different forms of auditory intervention might reflect less specific bias on methodology and be helpful in guiding parents through the method of training or appropriate sequencing of techniques most beneficial for their child.
The Sensory Gym is able to offer diversity in the auditory interventions available for a client.
Colleen Hacker, MS, OTR has a high level of training in a range of auditory techniques and is considered a leading clinician in this area of practice. Her first certification in sound therapy (Berard Auditory Integration Training) was acquired in 1994. In 1997, Colleen began collaborating with Sheila Frick on the beginning therapeutic listening® courses (Listening with the Whole Body), and in 1998, she joined Sheila Frick’s practice in Madison, Wisconsin and began a 6 year intensive collaboration training and teaching with Sheila. Colleen co-authored the first edition of the book, Listening with the Whole Body.
Colleen is trained in the following auditory intervention programs:
- Berard Auditory Integration Training (AIT©)
- SAMONAS Sound Therapy
- Therapeutic Listening®
- Listening Fitness Trainer (LiFT)
- The Listening Program®
In an effort to make these programs as accessible and affordable to families as possible, The Sensory Gym offers the following intervention programs:
- Berard Auditory Integration Training (AIT©)
- SAMONAS Sound Therapy
- Therapeutic Listening®
Berard Auditory Integration Training (AIT©)
Most of the clinically based auditory training techniques are based on the early work of Alfred Tomatis, including that of Dr. Guy Berard, a French medical doctor who studied and worked with Tomatis.
Berard felt that the original protocol of Tomatis was too lengthy and developed a different method of filtering sound. This technique, which uses filtered pop music in which sound frequencies are electronically modulated at random intervals for random periods of time, is called Auditory Integration Training (AIT©). Berard believes that hypersensitive hearing causes auditory processing problems. Berard and his technique gained worldwide recognition in 1990 with the publication of Annabel Stehli’s biographical account of her daughter Georgie. The Sound of a Miracle describes how Georgie, diagnosed with sever autism, greatly benefited from a course of 20 AIT© treatments with Berard. AIT© is a clinic based program; implementation relies upon the use of the Earducator, a device developed by Berard for filtering music, and upon a practitioner with specialized training.
The Sensory Gym is one of a handful of clinics Australia-wide that can provide AIT©.
A traditional AIT program requires a 10-day intensive clinic-based program. AIT© is especially helpful in reducing sound reactivity and other types of sensory reactivity as well as helping to regulate the disregulated child.
The Sensory Gym offers both a traditional 10-day program and shortened 5-day programs making use of the AIT© methodology.
Almost 15 years of experience have led to the creation of alternative protocols for the children seen in Colleen’s practice settings. All AIT© occurs within the context of an entire treatment program; all AIT© sessions are followed by 30-60 minutes of work in one of the clinic gyms to integrate and organize the input received from AIT©. In using this type of protocol as “standard,” it has been possible to promote integration and organization throughout the intensive treatment, and periods of disorganization can be minimized.
SAMONAS Sound Therapy
Beginning in 1997, Colleen worked and trained with Ingo Steinbach.
Ingo Steinbach is the developer of SAMONAS Sound Therapy. Steinbach is a physicist and sound engineer who has created a recording method in which the spatial essence of the recording is optimally preserved and the high harmonics of the music are “activated” in order to be energizing and regulating. SAMONAS CDs are utilized both during treatment sessions and as part of home and school programs. They are especially beneficial for refinement of modulation, attention, and higher level motor and communication skills.
All of the recordings used in Steinbach’s work are based on the SONAS (system of optimal natural structure) principle, which makes it possible to maintain the valuable elements and structure of natural sounds throughout the entire process of recording, processing and reproduction.
The choice of music is based on the principles of music therapy. Most selections are classical music and some includenature sounds.
Steinbach also developed a special device called the envelope shape modulator which enhances the upper frequency range of the music, thereby “spectrally activating” the recordings.
The higher frequencies provide information about directional distance of sounds as well as other detailed information about the sound source. In addition to the spectral activation, there are also brief passages on the CDs with intensive filtering during which almost nothing but the overtones in the music can be heard. Listening to these “high extension” passages trains the ear to pay attention to the upper ranges in the sound spectrum. The higher tones are the parts of the sound spectrum that captivate attention and hold interest. These recordings are identified as SAMONAS, for spectrally activated music of optimal natural structure.
Colleen has completed advanced training in SAMONAS Sound Therapy, allowing her the use of bone conduction equipment combined with the music utilized in a SAMONAS Sound Therapy program. The bone conduction unit engineered by Ingo Steinbach allows for adjusting the relative proportion of sound energy delivered via bone conduction or air conduction. Bone conducted sound tends to be powerfully organizing for treatment of individuals with sensory modulation disorders. Additionally, sound amplified by bone conduction can bypass the middle ear. The biomechanics of the ossicle chain can become damaged or inefficient following repeated middle ear infections. Bone conduction provides a means of circumventing the middle ear and while still supporting the listener to “make sense” of sounds.
The term therapeutic listening® was coined by Sheila Frick, OTR, a clinician and lecturer from the United States, to include the CDs produced by Steinbach as well as some additional CDs produced in the US. The variety of CDs currently available ensures availability of this form of home programming for clients with a wide range of therapeutic needs. The CDs used in therapeutic listening® require use of specific headphones and a portable CD player. Programs utilizing therapeutic listening® typically last from 2 – 6 months, with many individuals continuing on some form of therapeutic listening® for longer intervals. Maximum effectiveness in treatment outcomes is promoted by daily use.
Therapeutic Listening® implies that the listening programs are individualized to each client and are ideally suited for application in home and school settings. Therapeutic Listening® also implies that the actual listening program is only part of a comprehensive treatment plan treating the underlying sensory processing disorder. The use of therapeutic listening® in conjunction with other sensory integrative techniques seems to increase the effectiveness of both treatment modalities. An accompanying decrease in the time necessary to meet treatment goals in the areas of modulation, balance and movement perception, exploration of the environment, sense of physical competence, and drive to challenge one’s own praxis and sequencing abilities as well as social competence and language abilities is commonly experienced.
Colleen collaborated closely with Sheila Frick, from 1997 until her move to Australia, including co-authorship of the first edition of the book Listening with the Whole Body. Colleen has helped train thousands of the clinicians in the technique of therapeutic listening®.