Physical Challenges 

 

The child with SPD will face many physical challenges at school, whether in the classroom, the gym, or outside at recess.  Some examples include:

 

- clumsiness

- difficulty balancing

- tripping often

- falling off chair

- difficulty following rules in PE, staying within lines for a game

- pushing too hard on pencils and breaking them, or too hard on an eraser and ripping the paper

- spilling food/drinks

- having poor posture

- avoiding touch

- touching everything, and everyone

 

(Kranowitz, 1998)

 

These examples may at first, seem random and unrelated, however, each one points to the way the brain processes information from the Tactile sense, which connects one to the world and to others,  as well as the Vestibular and Proprioceptive senses.  (Kranowitz, 1998).  One strategy to overcome some of these difficulties would be to implement a program in a sensory/motor lab such as "Ready Body Learning Minds".  A program like this would assist in developing all three of the above mentioned sensory systems.  Students would daily perform a set of specific exercises designed to increase awareness of how to use their own bodies (see Fig. 7). Eventually, the goal is for these motions to become automatic.  (RBLM, 2016)  A program like RBLM has its basis in brain neuroplasticity and the "Arrowsmith" method - the idea that a child's brain is able to be molded and to change in response to training (Arrowsmith, 2016).  

 

Other forms of treatment could be used to help students who are unable to self-regulate, that is, "to stay calmly focused and alert" (Canadian Education, 2016). For example, allowing a child to take movement breaks to swing,  or hang upside down (vestibular), or to lift or push heavy objects (proprioceptive), can allow for greater success in other domains and help students to go about their school day more smoothly.  Strategies for specific challenges include offering a thicker pencil for the student who pushes too hard,  providing a grippy mat to sit on for the student who tends to fall off his chair, and modifying a game in PE to make it possible for the child to be successful.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Figure: 7: Occupational Therapy Lab
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