Awaken the Senses!

by Margaret Vence, PT, DPT, Executive Director



We hope you enjoyed the Thanksgiving holiday. This time of year awakens our senses with the taste and smell of festive foods, the feel of the cool breezes on our skin and the look and sounds of the colorful rustling leaves falling from the trees.

We are all sensory beings, utilizing our senses to help navigate our environment. We all process sensory information differently as noted by some of us enjoying the tastes of certain foods or the corkscrew spins of amusement park rides while others of us despise them! Our sensory system processes information and filters any unnecessary stimuli as needed. Some of us, or our loved ones, may have difficulty with processing and integrating sensory information and may demonstrate atypical behaviors or reactions to stimuli.

The therapists at Lifespan Therapies regularly work with students with sensory processing disorders. Mia Thomas, PT, DPT, writes of some strategies that can be used with these students to help mediate the senses. We are always eager to learn more about new research or resources that are available to optimize treatment plans and student outcomes. We recently welcomed Dr. Timothy Davis, PhD, CAPE, to our clinic in King Ferry to speak to us about evidence based research and best practices for individuals with sensory processing disorders. Dr. Davis, a professor at SUNY Cortland, created and directs the SIMS Lab in Cortland, NY. The lab is a sensory rich play environment in which individuals with sensory processing disorders can connect with their environment and challenge their sensory systems through play. Dr. Davis focuses the training in the lab on the tactile, proprioceptive and vestibular sensory systems utilizing an array of sensory equipment that addresses and conveys the spectrum of sensory integration needs of the individual.

The SIMS Lab is open to children in the community for group skill building or individualized training when they have a referral from a physical or occupational therapist. We are thankful to Dr. Davis for his visit and look forward to working with him and our students to optimize their function.