Why I Created The Sensory Space
For the last 10 years I have been working with children in foster care, in residential settings, and in schools. In every place I have worked I have seen children benefit from movement, creativity, and play. However, it wasn’t until my own son struggled with sensory processing issues that I truly realized the power of a sensory space.
My son struggled with issues around texture (such as having paint on his hands), he became overwhelmed around lots of people, and he struggled with transitions. After a year of working with an occupational therapist, going to a school that was aware of his needs, and living in a home filled with sensory tools, my son has made drastic changes. He loves spending time with people, finger painting is one of his favorite activities, and with support he is excited to try new things. As a clinician I don’t always get to see the full impact of my work with clients. As the client I was able to see the power of sensory integration for my child and my family.
Seeing what this work could do for my son inspired me to make sensory integration the cornerstone of my practice. In future blog posts I plan to go more in depth about what I have learned about Sensory Processing Disorder and the multitude of tools available to manage it. For now, you may be wondering; what is Sensory Processing Disorder? “Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) is the inability to use information received through the senses in order to function in daily life” (The Out of Sync Child, pg. 9). As a psychotherapist I work with children whose mental health gets in the way of daily functioning. Often mental health and sensory processing go hand in hand. When sensory integration is partnered with psychotherapy children can not only learn how to function better in the world, but can learn to thrive.
I was nervous when I first began to research SPD. I thought about my son’s future and the challenges ahead for him. Through reading and research I realized how similar my journey would be to the journeys of many of my clients and their families. “Not only is the journey long but often it is heartbreaking and impacts siblings, couples, extended families, and friends. Families need help, and they need hope” (Sensational Kids, pg. xxiii). I was provided with hope and help for my son and it is my goal that the Sensory Space will provide this for many other children and families. The Sensory Space will be a safe space for physical and emotional expression where children and families will find both sensory and emotional support. By marrying psychotherapy and sensory integration The Sensory Space will provide a space where children can be who they are and grow into their best selves.
Check out the great books I quoted above to learn more about sensory processing disorder:
The Out of Sync Child by Carol Stock Kranowitz, M.A.
Sensational Kids by Lucy Jane Miller, PhD, OTR