A comprehensive and effective training for caregivers, The SWP is a culmination of
Amee Cohen, OTR/L 25+ years of research and clinical experience.
PREPARING CAREGIVERS OF INDIVIDUALS WITH DISRUPTIONS IN THEIR LIFE SKILLS.
We call delays and difficulties “disruptions” because the behaviors and sensory components associated with the skill acquisition and maintenance impede the learning of functional tasks causing disruptions in life skills. The disruption is also a term that explains a possible root cause of the maladaptive or delayed learning of life skills and function.
The children and adult populations that we have been working closely with have had a variety of diagnoses such as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), Developmental Delay, and a variety of neurodevelopmental diagnoses. The foundation and basis for the SWP has been a direct outcome and a natural progression from the close work we have performed with our clients.
The SWP approach focuses on the neural pathways which information travels through the neurons of the brain and strengthens the specific neural pathways needed for skill acquisition and maintenance. This Program can make a difference for all individuals affected by a disruption and delay of the neuro pathways in current use.
Without a doubt, the dedication of caregivers and consistent to use the Program guidelines are a critical component to effectiveness. This Program is not intended to replace any of the ongoing therapies or Biomed treatments currently used. It is a critical component for a concentrated positive effect in the entire healing process of a person’s disruption in function.
Disruption in development
Our work has always been oriented to the analysis and treatment of the components affecting each person’s disruption in skill development. What happens when these components are not developed? Basic skill development in the areas of self-care, functional activities such as eating, dressing, bathing and even maintaining eye contact are disrupted. Neural pathways are considered disrupted and require strengthening.
As caregivers, family members, and friends of persons with disrupted life skill acquisition, we know that associated with these effects are sensory processing concerns. The disruptions in development of sensory processing areas have been closely related to often cognitive delays, social and physical delays.
There are suggested Biomedical components related to a variety of food and environmental allergies and intolerance that may have a significant impact on the developmental process. There are also persons who have suffered trauma/disease that has caused the disruption to occur, so affecting the ability to progressively learn or relearn life skills.
We witness and live our lives teaching and caring for those we love having disruptions from any of the etiologies suggested and yet we continue to spend our time and energy following the traditional routes and pathways to acquire the skills. The SWP offers a caregiver approach to such disruptions, this a positive and effective program for all ages.
It can be changed
The Sensory Workout Program (SWP) has its foundation in the brain’s ability to change and adapt because of experiences that are strengthened over time with repetition and practice.
Over time the brain may develop and strengthen neural pathways that are maladaptive for functional use, yet, adaptive for calming and avoiding non-preferred experiences, as in avoiding, calming behaviors including but not exclusive of hand flapping, throwing objects, hitting, decreased eye contact, rushing through tasks and even self-sabotaging by overeating and excessive sleeping. No doubt the brain’s ability to generate increased pathways through neuroplasticity strengthens these behaviors, causing disruptions in functional skills.
The program uses a variety of graded and specific targeted exercises to strengthen the neural areas underlying skill acquisition and taps into the ability of a person to focus and acquire new skills. This is a multisensory approach changing behaviors and acquiring new skills through neuroplasticity and sensorimotor activities. This is a key to success for the SWP.
The premise of the SWP was founded to assist with learning, re-learning, and the acquisition of new skills with specific exercises tapping into the brain’s ability to undergo neuroplastic changes. Repetitive and multisensory exercises allow the opening up of the neural pathways and the strengthening of the pathways begin for acquired new skills.
The SWP´s exercises begin with shadowing/mirroring the facilitator. The facilitator (leader) begins with the one-step repetitive sensorimotor activity that continues to build and increases in complexity at the rate of the neural pathway acquisition. There are a variety of skills the facilitator will use to build attention and follow-through, however, each Program and sequence is calibrated and performed for the strengthening of the base neuroplasticity to occur.
How it works
Today, it is understood that the brain possesses the remarkable capacity to reorganize pathways, create new connections, and in some cases, even create new neurons. The brain can change, and new learning occurs when it receives focused and specific repetitive input. Cortical remapping is a term that refers to the brain’s ability to change and adapt because of experience.
Neural pathways and subsequent behaviors/skills that strengthen because of repetitive use of each pathway is known as neuroplasticity. Learning occurs and pathways that are not used are pruned, weakened, and eventually disappear or are disrupted. Maladaptive and nonfunctional behaviors may replace once functional (or never acquired) skills.
The SWP exercises and activities are specifically created to activate the neural pathways underlying the brain’s capacity to execute the intended skills. The sensorimotor exercises and activities are paired and calibrated to enhance the learning of skills specific to the brain’s left/right and global mapping.
The SWP offers flexibility for usages. There are suggested sensory programs used prior to each session to assist with the activation of the brain pathways. After the recommended sequence /level program of the session, there are follow-up exercises using fine motor, self-care or gross motor programs continuing the activation and neuroplastic training for skill acquisition.
The Sensory Workout Program does take time and effort by the facilitator, however, there is the flexibility of the program to be broken down into more frequent shorter sessions throughout the day and can be used by a host of facilitators, disciplines and family members. The process is extremely accessible without the need for scheduling time-consuming appointment and extra financial resources.
The Sensory Workout Program is a well-developed program that can ease the mind of all caregivers as it is evidence based, therapeutically based, functionally and caregiver based. All therapeutic processes can take years if not longer to achieve the functional results and this very effective and affordable program brings together a sensory training that can be part of your family’s routine while assisting in the development of life skills.
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