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Blending Sensory Integration with Other Approaches

Erna Imperatore Blanche PhD, OTR/L , FAOTA,
Clare Giuffrida, PhD, OTR/L , C/NDT , FAOTA
Mary Hallway BSc, OTR/L , C/NDT


Current practice requires attention to many factors and threading together diverse approaches to deliver highly effective care. Informed by the ICF Model, this workshop facilitates systematic clinical reasoning to blend SI with other approaches to build a dynamic, evidence-based pediatric practice.The diagnostic and sociocultural issues in the present healthcare delivery environment have resulted in an increasingly more complex professional practice. Facing challenging cases is a common dilemma encountered in the present healthcare and educational environments. In order to provide the best care possible, one needs to consider and integrate many dimensions of care such as the child’s and the family’s needs and priorities, the context of care as impacted by regulatory and funding issues, and the evidence supporting the use of different interventions available through coordinated pediatric care. Furthermore, the practitioner must consider the relationships between the child’s diagnosis and impairments, and their impact on the child’s participation in home, school and community. Addressing all these aspects increases the complexity of clinical practice as the choices we make in intervention models to achieve desired outcomes will depend on the many factors surrounding health care and current pediatric service delivery (Blanche, Guiffrida, Hallway, Edwards, & Test, 2016).


This workshop focuses on combining sensory integration with other interventions to meet the multifaceted issues of children with developmental disabilities. A systematic approach to clinical reasoning will be used to identify the possible impairments, activity limitations and participation restrictions impacting the child’s occupational performance and quality of life at home and in the community (Blanche, et al, 2016). Evidence to support the use of different outcome measures and interventions will be presented (Blanche, Botticelli, & Hallway, 1995). Although the literature supports that many occupational therapists use multiple frames of reference in their daily treatment planning, there is often an insufficient and unarticulated connection between practitioners’ use of selected frames of reference and their rationale for using and combining various approaches (Case-Smith, Frolek Clark, Schalbach, 2013). The presenters will provide practical tools to analyze occupational performance problems and interventions before combining them.


Through discussion and case examples, multidimensional pediatric treatment approaches that guide the delivery of pediatric therapy interventions in the home, the school, the clinic and the community will be explored. Using the World Health Organization’s International Classification of Functioning and Disability biopsychosocial health care model, the presenters will highlight combining treatment approaches in the delivery of pediatric services to specific populations, including children with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Developmental Coordination Disorder and Sensory Processing and Integration Disorders (Ferguson, Jelsma, Versfeld, Smits-Engelsman, 2014). In addition, delivery of care in specific contexts will be highlighted to facilitategeneralizability of the systematic clinical reasoning approaches being discussed.