An Overview of the Sensory Learning Program
The Sensory Learning Program (SLP) is a method developed and validated by the Sensory Learning Institute for nearly two decades (www.sensorylearning.com). SLP is an effective and expedient avenue to accelerate neurological organization, which assists the brain to repair itself. When a child, adolescent or adult learns to effectively process sensory information, a critical foundation for higher cognitive abilities becomes established. Sensory integration assists an individual to be more in tune with their body, their social environment and to better express their abilities.
The Sensory Learning Program is a supra-modal approach to developmental learning that unites three modalities (auditory, visual and vestibular) into one 30-day drug-free intervention to improve perception, understanding, and the ability to learn. While the Sensory Learning Program is primarily used for children, the program has proven effective in helping adults with brain and learning issues, as well.
Initial Auditory Listening Profile Assessment
Preceding the intervention, a listening profile and behavioral measures are taken. This listening profile helps provide a baseline that is used to customize the Sensory Learning Auditory Integration approach tailored to each client. Pre- Mid- and Final evaluations are done to track improvements in sensory regulation.
The Sensory Learning Program is comprised of two 30-minute or one 60 minute session each day for 12 consecutive days, including weekends and holidays. Each session is an individual sensory experience simultaneously engaging visual, auditory and vestibular systems to work in an integrated way. The repetitive sensory activation of each session builds on the session before and maximizes neuroplasticity, brain health.
After twelve days of sessions in the Sensory Learning Center, the individual returns home with a portable light instrument to continue the program, with a 20-minute session each morning and evening for the next 18 days.
Overall benefits include improvement in perception, social and emotional regulation, and the ability to learn. We often see specific improvement in processing time, sensitivities, sleep patterns, awareness and attention, speech, memory, expression and social skills. Because the benefits gained are lasting, the Sensory Learning Program is typically a one-time intervention. Sensory Learning Programs have successfully decreased or eliminated symptoms associated with:
ADD / ADHD - An individual’s proficiency to attend to a task depends on his/her ability to regulate sensory input and sensory activity levels. Many sensory messages process and integrate initially in the brainstem area. This area must be functioning in an organized way to arouse the individual to attend adeptly.
Acquired Brain Injury - When an adolescent or adult acquires a brain injury, the brainstem area, which receives primary sensory messages often, loses its ability to process and integrate those messages effectively. The individual often becomes hyper-vigilant, responding to all sensory impressions.
Athletic Performance Enhancement – Sensory Learning provides a foundation for developing better athletic abilities, such as coordination, balance, hand-eye coordination and scanning skills.
Autism Spectrum Disorders - Children on the autism spectrum often crave or avoid sensory stimulation. The repetitive sensory activation of the Sensory Learning Program can help bring forward developmental patterns that have been long delayed.
Behavior Problems - Many behavior problems result because sensory messages are not efficiently processed and integrated accurately. A child who cannot properly regulate sensory input or sensory activity levels often presents with emotional frustration, and chaotic, unpredictable, behaviors. Sensory skills allow a better relationship between the person and their environment.
Birth Trauma or Developmental Delays - Even in a newborn, trauma to the brain may results in disrupted pathways and neural transmission. The child responds to ordinary sensory information as though the sensory messages are signaling a trauma. Sensory stimulation naturally brings forth developmental patterns. When there are delays, repetitive, unique sensory stimulation can allow developmental milestones to emerge.
Learning Enhancement - Originally this method was promoted to help children with Dyslexia and various language and learning problems. Exercising the sensory systems simultaneously allows people to enhance their ability to learn more efficiently and effortlessly. Sensory skills can become enhanced and can promote easier learning and improved performance. Sensory re-patterning may assist in reducing the negative effects of aging on cognitive abilities such as memory and learning.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder – A recently published (2010) double blind experimental study demonstrated the effectiveness of a Sensory Learning program combined with psychotherapy as more a effective treatment for Complex PTSD symptoms compared to psychotherapy alone. Common to trauma is the dysregulation of the thalamus, found within the center of our brain that integrates and regulates nearly all sensory inputs. Numerous thalamic-cortical feedback loops connects the cerebral cortex (thinking brain), with limbic areas (emotional brain), to the rest of the body (via brain stem and spinal cord).