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Alleviating Sensory Integration Issues in Adopted Children Due to Early Sensory Deprivation - Online Links

Links to online articles with informational responses to common questions from parents of adopted children raised in orphanages or institutions, who have ongoing with sensory integration issues. An interview with Zoe Mailloux, MA, OTR/L, FAOTA, co-author of Love, Jean and Director of Administration of the Pediatric Therapy Network.

Interview by Allison Martin

What does it mean to say that a brain is "plastic"? Why is this good news?

The term "plastic" in neurology means changeable. It is good news that changes can be made in the way a nervous system develops and functions with the experiences a person has. Just as sensory deprivation can affect the brain negatively, carefully selected enriched sensory experiences can affect brain development in a positive manner.

What types of impacts might result from sensory deprivation on young babies and young children raised in orphanages or institutions?

Sensory experiences are very important in early life, Much of the foundations for later learning and behavior come from the touch, motion, deep pressure, smells, tastes, sights and sounds that a baby experiences when being held and loved by a parent and/or caregiver. There is a lot of literature demonstrating the damaging affects to young nervous systems from sensory deprivation experienced by many children in institutions. See (pdf document) Lin, S., Cermak, S., Coster, W., & Miller, L. (2005). The relation between length of institutionalization and sensory integration in children adopted from Eastern Europe. American Journal of Occupational Therapy. 59, 139-147.

What should parents expect from an Sensory Integration dysfunction evaluation?

Parents should feel free to ask about a therapist's credentials and training in sensory integration. For information on comprehensive evaluation of sensory integration function and dysfunction, see : Evaluating Sensory Integration Dysfunction. Also see the section on Guideslines for Competency in the Application of Sensory Integration Theory for specific training a parent should look for in a therapist.

How might SI therapists ameliorate early problems?

The SI Global Network site's section on Intervention Principles Based on Sensory Integration Theory covers this best.

What can parents do to help their children with sensory integration issues due to deprivation?

All parents can help their children develop healthy sensory integration systems. See Sensory Integration: Answers for Parents booklet for more specific ideas.

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