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Combined, Multi-Component, Motor-Sensory Interventions and Autism

Introduction

There are a number of approaches which use a wide range of motor and sensory techniques including

  • Occupational Therapy: the treatment of physical and psychiatric conditions using specific, purposeful activity to prevent disability and promote independent function.
  • Physiotherapy (also known as physical therapy): the use of movement as a way of assessing and improving the health and well-being of individuals.

There are also a number of interventions which use a wide range of motor and sensory techniques including

  • The low arousal approach: a multi-component intervention which uses a variety of techniques to deal with challenging behaviours.
  • Multi-sensory environments: an artificially-created area, such as a room or a pool, which contains equipment and materials designed to stimulate the senses.
  • Restricted environmental stimulation therapy: an intervention based around sensory deprivation, that is, minimising sensory inputs such as sound, lights and smells.
  • Sensory integrative therapy: a programme which usually involves a combination of different elements such as wearing a weighted vest, riding a scooter board, etc. 

Evidence

Determining the benefits of combined, multi-component motor-sensory interventions for autistic people is not currently possible. We must wait for further research of sufficiently high quality to be completed. 

Risks and Safety

No risks are associated with most forms of  combined, multi-component motor-sensory interventions, although it is possible that someone could injure themselves when undertaking movement activities such as swinging or trampolining.


Specific Combined, Multi-Component, Motor-Sensory Interventions


Low Arousal Approach

The low arousal approach is a multi-component intervention which uses a variety of techniques to deal with challenging behaviours.

The low arousal approach is based on the idea that an individual's internal physiological state of arousal influences how they deal with sensory input from the environment and how they behave in reaction to that sensory input.

The low arousal approach is designed to reduce stressors through the  use of techniques including:

  • Relaxation techniques
  • Sensory environments
  • Physical exercise
  • Reinforcement-based methods
  • Physical interventions

More information

Please see 


Multi-Sensory Environments

A multi-sensory environment is an artificially-created area, such as a room or a pool, which contains equipment and materials designed to stimulate the senses.

Most multi-sensory environments contain a wide variety of equipment and materials  (such as bubble tubes, ballpools, rockers, etc.) because they are designed to provide a variety of stimulation to a variety of different clients.

However it is also possible to design multi-sensory environments to suit the needs of individual children or adults.

Multi-sensory environments are designed to create a feeling of safety and to provide novel and intriguing sensations, which can promotes pleasure and / or feelings of well-being.

They can also be utilised as part of the learning or treatment experience or for leisure and relaxation.

More information

Please see 


Restricted Environmental Stimulation Therapy

Restricted environmental stimulation therapy (REST or peceptual isolation therapy) is an intervention based around sensory deprivation, that is, minimising sensory inputs such as sound, lights and smells.

The individual is placed in an environment with minimal distractions, such as a dimly lit room or isolation tank, for several hours or days at a time.

REST is designed to encourage an extremely deep level of relaxation.

More information

Please see 


Sensory Integrative Therapy

Sensory integrative therapy is designed to help people cope with sensory difficulties. 

It is based on the idea that some people struggle to receive, process and make sense of information provided by the senses.

The therapist assesses the person’s sensory difficulties and then develops a personalised treatment programme using various techniques and
tools.

A sensory integrative programme usually includes elements such as wearing a weighted vest, being brushed or rubbed by various instruments, sitting on a bouncy ball, and other similar activities

More information

Please see 


More information

Please see also the section on Standard Health Care for information about Occupational Therapy and Physiotherapy and the section on Specific Sensory Interventions.


Related Pages

Related Glossaries


Updated
26 Feb 2019