Everyday there are a zillion things we see, hear, touch, taste, and smell, as well as ways we move and feel physical pressure on our bodies. For the most part these sensory-motor experiences go completely unnoticed. We just take the information in and respond appropriately without any fanfare. Some experiences however, are quite noticeable and illicit strong responses such as anxiety, happiness, fear, anger, or tics. Our preferences for particular sensations drive us to repeatedly seek out some experiences and to avoid others at all costs.
People with tics, Tourette Syndrome, Functional Neurological Disorder, and Autism often experience internal and environmental sensory messages very intensely while also having marked difficulty registering and interpreting other forms of input. Sensory-motor awareness training helps to enable people with these complex conditions to take more control over their daily lives and to manage tics better.
Occupational therapists often assist with this process by helping patients to create sensory diets. A sensory diet is a highly personalized collection of activities or sensations that bring a sense of wellbeing. A sensory diet may contain alerting foods such as crunchy carrots or cold popsicles or calming foods such as mashed potatoes. Visual components may include looking out the window when stressed or using color contrast to keep materials organized. Auditory features of a sensory diet could include listening to music or wearing head phones to block out Boston construction noise. There are also ways to provide tactile input to your body ranging from wearing a snug baseball cap to petting a dog to sleeping with heavy blankets. The most important aspect of a sensory diet is movement, because it often uses all of the senses simultaneously. CBIT Therapy uses sensory surveys along with CBIT to help patients identify their sensory preferences. Together we find ways to avoid harmful input or adjust to it. We also teach how to increase helpful sensory input into daily routines. Sensory awareness is a critical component of effective tic, stereotypy, and stimming management.
Many people learn how to predict when they will have difficulty functioning by understanding their Sensory Profile.
This process begins by recognizing that some experiences feel completely fine while others are totally underwhelming or overwhelming. Choosing to seek out or avoid unfavorable situations brings some personal control. Of course, life is full of sensations and events that are required or totally unpredictable. Making plans for how to adjust or adapt to troubling times supports wellbeing and resilience. Quality of life is often improved by understanding, accepting, and addressing sensory stressors and preferences.
CBIT Therapy is part of Online OTs LLC and collaborates with clinicians at UMass, MGH, Boston Children's Hospital, and many practices throughout New York, Massachusetss, New Hampshire, Maine, and Vermont to address tic disorders. A HIPPA compliant Google Suite platform is used for video calls. Allways Health Partners, Blue Cross Blue Shield, and private pay are accepted. Mass Health recipients are eligible for some financial assistance.
Please FAX referrals to 857-202-5085. Thank you!