The Sensory Workout Program™ is a culmination of Amee Cohen, OTR/L 25+ years of research and clinical experience in sensory training.

"A Game-Changing Tool when there are Disruptions in Life Skills"

FOR INDIVIDUALS WITH DISRUPTIONS IN THEIR LIFE SKILLS

For the purpose of the Sensory Workout Program, delays and difficulties in function are known as disruptions.

We call delays and difficulties “disruptions” because the behaviors and sensory components associated with them in the skills acquisitions and maintenance impede the acquisition of functional abilities, 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, ASD, 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, the pathways along which information travels through the neurons of the brain, and specifically strengthening the specific neural pathways needed for skill acquisition and maintenance. This Program can make a difference for all persons affected by a disruption, delay and even just strengthening the neural pathways in current use.

Without a doubt, the dedication of caregivers and persistence 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 treatment and analysis of the components affecting each person’s disruption in skill development. It is true we think of very basic skills when discussing self-care, functional activities such as eating, dressing, bathing and at the minimum maintaining eye contact. Although we need these skills to start or maintain our journey of functional independence, we are discussing neural pathways that are strengthened over time and as a result causing mild to severe disruptions.

As parents, caregivers, family members, and friends of persons with disrupted life skill acquisition and maintenance, we know that associated with these effects are sensory processing concerns, often cognitive delays, social and physical delays that contribute to the delay in the development and maintenance of life skills.

There are suggested Biomed 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.

IT CAN BE CHANGED

The Sensory Workout Program has its foundation in the brain’s ability to change and adapt as a result 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 using a variety of graded and specific targeted exercises to strengthen the neural areas underlying skill acquisition taps into the ability of a person to focus and acquire new skills and behaviors through neuroplasticity, sensorimotor activities, so that the use of multisensory approaches is the key to success.

The premise of the Sensory Workout Program was founded to assist with learning, re-learning, and the acquisition of new skills through the use of specific exercises tapping into the brain’s ability to undergo neuroplastic changes. Repetitive and multisensory exercises allow the opening up of the neural pathways then the strengthening the pathways for the acquisition of the intended skills. Hence the foundation, disruption of pathways.

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 for that specific sequence. There are a variety of skills that the facilitator will use in order 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 DOES IT WORK

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 has the ability to 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 as a result of experience.

Neural pathways and subsequent behaviors/skills that strengthen as a result of repetitive use of each pathway is known as neuroplasticity. Learning occurs and pathways that not used are pruned, weakened, and eventually disappear or are disrupted. Maladaptive and nonfunctional behaviors replace once functional (or never acquired) skills.

The sensorimotor, sensory, and functional activities are specifically created to activate the neural pathways underlying the brain’s capacity to execute the intended skills. The sensorimotor gross and fine motor skills are paired and calibrated to assist with the learning of skills specific to the brain’s left/right and global mapping.

It is recommended the SWP´s exercises be performed 2x per day. There are suggested sensory programs used prior to each session to assist with the activation of the brain pathways. Following the recommended sequence /level program of the session, there are follow-up exercises with the fine motor, self-care or gross motor programs to continue the activation and neuroplastic training for skill acquisition.

THERAPY AS DAILY ROUTINE

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 appointments, extra financial resources, and burdens often associated with the limited resources, in a time in which we are all struggling with as we keep up with our daily responsibilities.

The Sensory Workout Program is a well-developed program that can ease the mind of all caregivers as it is scientifically 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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