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SPD Awareness Month: The upcoming 17th International SPD Symposium “Strategies, Science and Success: The Changing Landscape of Sensory Processing Disorder”

In preparation for celebrating SPD Awareness month, this blog will highlight the upcoming 17th International SPD Symposium scheduled for November 7 and 8, 2014 in Tempe, Arizona.

In this blog, I will first speak very briefly about SPD.
Then I will discuss one of my presentations “Use of Playground in Therapy Tour session”.
I will also discuss items which will possibly be on display at the exhibitor booths.
And finally, I will list the other speakers and many of their brilliant topics.

SPD is term coined by Dr Lucy Jane Miller to describe a condition that exists when sensory signals don't get organized into appropriate responses. Pioneering occupational therapist and neuroscientist A. Jean Ayres, PhD, first used the term “sensory integration dysfunction” describing the challenges as a neurological "traffic jam" preventing certain parts of the brain from receiving the information needed to interpret sensory information correctly. Sensory processing (sometimes called "sensory integration" or SI) refers to the way the nervous system receives messages from the senses and turns them into appropriate motor and behavioral responses.
Reviewing three of the previous blogs (below) on My Special Needs Network including for more info. (add links)
1. sensory-processing-disorder-symposium-spd-does-exist
2. autism-ot-month-understanding-the-distinction-between-sensory-based...
3. sensory-processing-challenges-do-not-just-occur-in-the-main classroom

USE OF PLAYGROUND IN THERAPY TOUR (Wear your play clothes!)
On Friday Nov 7th, at 4:30 PM, one hundred attendees, John McKonkey, Ingrid Kanics, Sarah Schoen and I will board two buses for the “Use of Playground in Therapy Tour.” John will direct us to one of his Landscape Structures Playgrounds where Ingrid, OT (a wheelchair user) will focus on “universal design” and Sara, OT (from the SPD Star Center) will focus on sensory processing. I will focus on assessment and intervention on the playground.
The attendees will be have time to explore and play on the playground, and then discuss the topics above with each presenter.

I will first discuss the challenges each piece of equipment presents for children who have SPD.
Then I will ask the attendees to look at what each playground space and equipment provides related to:
1. Sensory input (movement, muscle, touch, etc.)

2. Ideation (contributing to creativity)

3. Motor planning (contributing to coordination)

4. Social participation (not knowing how to play with peers)

I will highlight the use of the Sensory Processing Measure (SPM) Playground /Recess Form. (See PDF: W-466C%284%29_REC_v1.pdf).

This assessment distributed by therapists can be rated by the playground assistant or parents. It can now also be scored electronically. (See PDF RECScore%20-%20scorereport.pdf). This is one of several SPM rating scale forms including home, main classroom, art, PE, music, cafeteria and bus.

I will show how to develop an online Intervention Report by sorting test results and picking appropriate SPM Quick Tips related to the identified sensory challenges. The SPM Quick Tips is a collection of sensory-based intervention strategies that helps to answer the question “what next?” following administration of the SPM. The following is an example of a Playground Intervention Report. (See PDF Playground_Recess%20-%20interventiontipreport.pdf.)

At the Symposium you will also be able to meet Rick, and try some of the sensory – based School Specialty products on display at the Henry OT booth.
Below are some pictures taken at previous conferences: 

Simulating a slide (below) where one can also safely climb up, while challenging balance and the muscles

Suspended equipment for those who need ASI (OT/SI) intervention by an OT specializing in ASI

Other “sensory tools” to be used in classrooms for balance and movement input

And fine motor “hand fidget tools” and sensory games.

On Friday Nov 7:
Lucy Jane Miller, PhD, OTR will be presenting one of the Keynotes:
Conducting Studies of Treatment Effectiveness

Elysa Marco, MD will be presenting the other Keynote: 

SPD: Brains and Games

Carol Stock Kranowitz will be leading parent discussions at lunch

Patricia Davies, PhD, OTR will be speaking on
The Role of Attention in SPD: Neurophysiological and Behavioral Measures

Carol Van Hulle, PhD will address
Sensory Over-Responsivity: Genetics, Correlates and Development

Mathew Goodwin will present:
Naturalistic Assessment of Physiological and Motor Responses in Sensory Related Disorders:
A Computational Behavioral Science Approach

Suzy Bazyk, PhD, OTR and Carol Conway, OTR will co-present
Every Moment Counts: Promoting Mental Health Through the School Day

John McKonkey is organizing a “Use of Playground in Therapy Tour” with
Ingrid Kanics, Sarah Schoen and me.

On Saturday Nov 8:
Erna Blanche, PhD, OTR will present
Measuring Proprioception: A Cornerstone in the Evaluation and Treatment of SPD

Diane Parham will speak on
Sensory Processing through the Eyes of Parent and Teachers

Diana Henry (I) will present
Sensory-based Strategies at Your Fingertips, via Tablets & More:
The SPM Quick Tips for Everyone on the Team.

We will also be discussing how the school team and parents record the frequency of strategies used on the Quick Tips Record Form (see PDF CaseD_QuickTipsRecordForm_School.pdf), to promote evidence based practice when using sensory-based strategies.

Plenary presentations include:
Alice Carter, PhD on
Being Bothered by Sensations Begins Early, Persists and Impacts Family Life

Doris Shriver, PhD on
Business Practices: Getting Reimbursed for OT Services

So come and learn about SPD while sharing with the many parents and therapists. You will be able to meet many of the ‘guru’ researchers and therapists working to bring light to the  challenges our children and families face with SPD! Enjoy trying the materials at the booths!

For details go to and click on workshop schedule page.

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