The Sensory Learning Program in Sarasota, Florida has been making local headlines with their impressive growth. Since it’s start in 1995, the system has had an amazing 92% success rate.
Ali Latvala, the mother of 8 year old Tyler Graham, can personally testify to the benefits of their new sensory therapy. Tyler has Autism Spectrum Disorder, and he mostly struggles with keeping up in conversations and becoming overwhelmed with too much light or sound.
Unfortunately, other therapies were not giving him what he needed. It came to a point where it was a lot to handle and Tyler was having trouble sleeping well. Last Fall, Latvala took her son to the New Path Development Center and, within days, was able to notice dramatic results. He was able to communicate better with others and when making requests, he was more detailed than ever before. Latvala was so inspired by the their work that she soon became the program’s Business Director to help spread awareness.
When undergoing a sensory therapy session, a child is placed in a relaxing reclined position on a circularly rotating bed. He/She is given headphones with a randomized playlist of music based on their individual needs and goals. The child also stares into a box that shows a range of colored lights. By exposing the child to multiple sensory inputs (sight, sound, and vestibular motion) therapists try to emulate the intense sensory environments they will encounter. Each session will incorporate more and more sensory stimulation.
Program Director Keri Porter explains that through this process the neural pathways in the brain will modify their physical structure and functional organization. At the end of the program the child is better at tolerating more daily activities like going to the grocery store where there are lots of people, bright lights, and noisy cash registers.
Throughout the years, research and surveys have proven the treatment program’s success rate. The children have improved on behavior abilities, cognitive abilities, and processing their senses.
Although the 30 day long program is designed for children, it has also been used as therapy for adults with brain injury, stroke, and PTSD.
These are some aspects the program has improved on for patients:
- Expressive language
- Fine motor skills
- Gross motor skills
- Speed of mental processing
- Physical and mental organization
- Goal setting and planning
- Transiting in thought or activity
- Language comprehension
- Building vocabulary
- Sensory Processing
- Cognitive control
Written by Raiza Belarmino