This diagram illustrates how sensory processing skills are foundational for higher level development, such as social and academic skills. When a child is having difficulty with age appropriate activities or behavior, the occupational therapist conducts standardized testing and structured clinical observations to determine if there are deficits in sensory motor processing.
If there are deficits in sensory motor development, addressing those skills is more effective than solely using a behavioral or cognitive approach.
Occupational therapists use a play-based approach while addressing sensory motor skills, since play is how children naturally learn. They are experts at setting up activities that are the “just right challenge” in order to best facilitate the child’s growth.