Upstate News

March 9, 2007
Doretta Royer 315 464-4833

Experts to discuss autism and other spectrum disorders at conference March 12 and 13

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) in children and strategies to help them better function at home, school and play will be discussed at a conference titled “Autism Spectrum Disorders: Building Bridges Through Sensory Integration,” co-sponsored by SUNY Upstate Medical University, March 12, from 3 to 6 p.m. and March 13, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Oncenter, 800 South State St., Syracuse.

The conference is open to parents, caregivers and professionals who work with children, aged two to 10, with sensory issues and related functioning problems. Occupational therapist Paula Aquilla, co-author of “Building Bridges through Sensory Integration,” will lead the conference. Aquilla has a private practice in Toronto and is certified in sensory integration.
Children with SPD have a difficult time combining senses—sight, sound, smell, touch, taste, balance, body in space—into their daily activities. Because of this, their play and other interactions with their environment are limited to the few habitual manners that they use when interacting with the world.

“Many therapists and teachers have found that integrating sensory strategies into their sessions has allowed young children with SPD to maximize their potential as their nervous system is in the ready state for learning,” said Carroll Grant, Ph.D., director of the Margaret L. Williams Developmental Evaluation Center at SUNY Upstate Medical University. “For example, teachers who integrate sensory strategies into their classrooms have found that children are more organized, ready to learn, more able to socially interact and can manage their coping behaviors more effectively.”

The conference will examine sensory processing disorder as a neurological difficulty and the “why” behind the behaviors from a sensory perspective. Participants will learn intervention strategies for children with SPD by use of sensory diet that focuses on environment, approach and specific activities for home and school.

The conference is sponsored by SUNY Upstate Medical University’s Margaret L. Williams Developmental Evaluation Center, the upcoming Golisano Children’s Hospital at University Hospital, the Central New York Coalition for Young Children with Special Needs and KOHL’s Cares for Kids program. Continuing education credits may be available to occupational therapists, speech-language pathologists and audiologists.

For registration fees or more information, contact Kathy Duxbury at 315-214-4643.

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