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Sensory Strategies: Sanity Restoration for Family Life - Part 3

Sensory Strategies: Sanity Restoration for Family Life - Part 3
Rondalyn V. Whitney, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA
August 18, 2016

Rondalyn Whitney: Thanks for having me. I am excited to talk about Part 3 today which will focus on interventions. We will go backwards into Parts 1 and 2 of the series to make sure we connect all the dots. We will talk about connecting strategies to have more tools to your toolkit. I am hoping with these strategies, you can really hit the ground running and help children do the work of childhood and help families get what they need to enjoy the gift of family life.

As we go through the webinar, we are going to highlight each learning objective to make sure that it is really clear what we are doing today. I think talking about strategies and intervention can be a lot of fun, but like with all good fun, we need to be mindful that there is some very good learning hiding in the background.

Childhood is engaged with occupation.  Children have work to do. They have to learn, they have to participate, they have to be a good member of a family, and that's real work and development is work and it is the work of a child. I have a friend in California that named her clinic, Development is Child's Place. It is one of the best names I have ever heard for a clinic.

Then we will look at social participation and the holidays. Sometimes those holidays are not a bit of fun if you have sensory processing difficulties. I really want you to think hard about how to troubleshoot some of those, and how to put ourselves in the shoes of others and their sensory system. There are the times or days where you just feel like banging your head against the wall. She calls them the arsenic hours ,and we all need help during those times. Those are our hardest times. We talked a little bit about this yesterday. We can be tired with not a lot of reserves ourselves. Our children are tired and do not have a lot of reserves themselves. We really need find put just a little bit more energy into getting through those times, and I think sensory strategies are great way to do that.

At the end of this series of webinars what we are looking at as an outcome is helping families feel like they are glued together. This is our strongest protection against many mental health disorders across a lifespan. I feel very committed to helping families think about family cohesion as their outcome and not whether or not they have eaten five to seven servings of vegetables a day. Did we eat in the day and start the next day as "Team Whitney", as we call it in my family. If you did then that is family cohesion and this is more than any other thing we can give to our children. That is the greatest protection against all that life is going to bring. 

Learning Objective #1:

  • After this course, participants will be able to identify three strategies each for the Work of Childhood: Morning and School.

Strategies for the Work of Childhood: Morning and School

We are now going to drill down to see if we can come up with some strategies during the morning hours, and while they are at school. One of my favorite ways of thinking about problems is called the WISE approach to problem solving (Figure 1).


Figure 1. WISE approach to problem solving.

This is really from the field of math, but I think it pertains to our profession and to the work that we do as families and clinicians. WISE is an acronym, and it stands for:

  • W- what is the problem
  • I- isolate what you know and what you need to know
  • S- suggest a strategy; to try something, to start, to get action
  • E- evaluate whether or not your strategy worked, and did you solve the problem 

rondalyn v whitney

Rondalyn V. Whitney, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA

Rondalyn Whitney’s research focuses on emotional disclosure to reduce stress and improve quality of life and family quality of life when raising a child with disabilities.  She is the author of more than 6 books, her work has been published in over 10 scholarly journals and she is a Fellow of the American Occupational Therapy Association. She serves as a reviewer for several journals.

Related Courses

Using the Science of Sensory Process to Survive The Holidays
Presented by Rondalyn V. Whitney, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA
Course: #4952Level: Advanced2 Hours
Stress reduces our ability to cope and the holidays increase the number of stressors in our daily lives: The pandemic presents a unique pile-on effect for families. This advanced level course builds of foundational knowledge of Ayre’s theory of Sensory Integration to the occupational needs of families during holiday celebrations.

Interoception: The Hidden Sensory System
Presented by Rondalyn V. Whitney, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA
Course: #3932Level: Intermediate1 Hour
The interoceptive system, often referred to as the ‘eighth sensory system’ is often neglected or misunderstood. However, this system is critical to self regulation. This course will explain how understanding the 8th sensory system can contribute to better sensory modulation, social interaction and ultimately as better sense of self-awareness.

Joint Hypermobility Syndromes: Assessment and Intervention
Presented by Valeri Calhoun, MS, OTR/L, CHT
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This course will cover upper extremity assessment and treatment strategies for the pediatric/young adult population affected by joint hypermobility syndromes. The treatment focuses on both orthopedic strategies along with adaptive methods for these individuals.

Foundations for School Readiness: Sensory Regulation and Yoga (Day 1)
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This course will provide you tips and tools to integrate sensory regulation, yoga and mindfulness into the classroom for children of all abilities.

Assessment and Intervention for Tethered Oral Tissues (TOTs) in Feeding Therapy
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This course will provide foundational review of information about anatomy and physiology of Tethered Oral Tissues and the functional implications that can impact feeding. Additionally, the course will prepare clinicians to support feeding goals and outcomes by improving their ability to assess and provide intervention for Tethered Oral Tissues.

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