When an OT challenges your qualifications

mom_daughter_autism_trampolineAfter over 16 years of working with parents and children affected by autism, it came as a complete surprise when an Occupational Therapist (OT) sent me an email and asked what my qualifications are to be helping kids with sensory challenges.

Once the initial shock wore off, I was glad he asked, because it occurred to me that if this OT questioned my qualifications and skills after following my work for several years, then you may have similar questions also.

This is why it’s important for you to know that I:

  1. Have worked with parents and children with autism and sensory challenges, in homes and schools around the world, since 1999. (Here are some awesome testimonials from parents I have worked with through the years.)
  2. Hold a Master’s Degree in Special Education and an Autism Endorsement.
  3. Have been trained in Snoezelen and Multi-Sensory Environments by some of the best Occupational Therapists in the world.
  4. Was awarded one of the first grants to create a Sensory Area in my classroom, which then was duplicated in schools across the country.
  5. Am one of the founding members of the American Association of Multi-Sensory Environments.
  6. Am dedicated to improving the quality of life for your child and family.

This is also a great opportunity for me to demystify some of the fears and beliefs that parents and teachers have regarding sensory challenges.

A number of you have mentioned situations where an OT has made you feel bad for your efforts to actually support your child’s sensory needs. Please be assured that you do not need to feel bad when it comes to trying to help your child.

Yes, it’s important to know the root causes of your child’s sensory needs, and an Occupational Therapist specializes in this. Yes, it’s essential to learn which strategies may trigger overwhelm, and which activities your child finds calming. However, there are many ways that YOU can help your child, including activities you can do at home as a parent. YOU can even learn strategies to help your child when you are in public that will make a huge difference.

You should also know that I regularly refer families to Occupational Therapists, because they typically do a great job finding the root causes of sensory challenges, and coming up with sensory solutions. Many of my clients would not be where they are today without the love, knowledge, and dedication of their devoted OTs.

The Sensory Club has been created to support parents, and to help you understand what you can do to better understand and work with your child with sensory difficulties. Every child’s challenges are different. Throughout this program, I will help you identify which difficulties and symptoms require the special attention of a trusted OT. The Sensory Club does not take the place of Occupational Therapy.

It’s hard to not get on a soapbox about this, because parents are often afraid to implement strategies to help their child with sensory needs. Some teachers also feel like it is out of their scope of practice to help meet their students’ sensory needs. Additionally, some people don’t have insurance, and others don’t have access to local resources. No matter what the case may be, please do not think that you are helpless, or that the situation is hopeless. While Occupational Therapists are invaluable, you can most definitely assist your child so that this sensory overwhelming world will not be so debilitating for him or her and your family. There are things YOU can do to help.

With love, and utmost respect for our autism community,


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