If you suspect your child has Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), if he or she has already been diagnosed, or if you are an adult seeking a sensory evaluation or treatment, you will need to locate a qualified occupational therapist (OT). Depending on the diagnosis, you may also work with a pediatric speech-language pathologist, physical therapist, or other health care professional.
What to look for in an occupational therapist Finding and selecting an occupational therapist to help your child, yourself, and/or your family is an important decision. Like all professionals, OTs differ in training, philosophy, and personality. The best choice is an OT who is a good "fit" for your child and yourself – someone you and/or your child likes and with whom you feel connected.
You will also want to look for an OT who follows methods known to be associated with effective treatment. These include:
If your child qualifies for special education, you may be able to arrange for him or her to receive occupational therapy in school. For more about school-based OT, click Guidelines for OT in the schools.
Not all occupational therapists are trained to work with children who have Sensory Processing Disorder. When you find a therapist you might want to work with, asking the following questions will help you to decide if he or she is right for you and your child:
If the Treatment Directory does not include an occupational therapist (OT) near where you leave and/or you wish to learn about additional providers, the following strategies may prove helpful.
There are many parts of the country and the world where no OTs with appropriate sensory-based training are available. If that is true for you or your family, these are strategies for treatment you may consider:
If you are working with a therapist who wishes to obtain more advanced training in OT with a sensory integration approach, you can refer him or her to the SPD Foundation's Advanced Intensive Mentorship program, where we provide a one-week training program in assessment and treatment.