Access Type

Open Access

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Department

Physical Therapy

Abstract

In January 2018, the Lynchburg College Doctor of Physical Therapy program sent a group of ten first- and second-year students to St. Lucia to provide therapy services to children in need across the island in five different special education schools. The group has been able to work hand-in-hand with the Ministry of Education in St. Lucia for the past three years in order to make a positive impact on the special education students and teachers. As the group did their evaluations this year, we noticed a trend that most of the students we worked presented with sensory integration dysfunctions and were not meeting their sensory needs. Due to the sensory processing disorders, the students' attention was decreased and their fine motor skills were diminished because of their need to constantly get more stimulation through their sensory systems of vision, auditory, proprioception, tactile, and vestibular. We worked through trial and error to find the right amount and type of stimulation each student needed, and we watched them transform into different versions of themselves as their sensory needs were satisfied. We saw them become calmer, more collected, and able to focus better on single and fine motor tasks. Essentially, we learned that meeting these sensory needs of the students increased their fine motor skills that are needed to participate in the classroom, enhance their learning, and perform self-care activities.

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Terry Leahy, PT, MHS, PhD, NCSE; Dr. Lori Mize, PT, DPT, WCS

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Sensory Integration in Saint Lucian Schools: A Case Study

In January 2018, the Lynchburg College Doctor of Physical Therapy program sent a group of ten first- and second-year students to St. Lucia to provide therapy services to children in need across the island in five different special education schools. The group has been able to work hand-in-hand with the Ministry of Education in St. Lucia for the past three years in order to make a positive impact on the special education students and teachers. As the group did their evaluations this year, we noticed a trend that most of the students we worked presented with sensory integration dysfunctions and were not meeting their sensory needs. Due to the sensory processing disorders, the students' attention was decreased and their fine motor skills were diminished because of their need to constantly get more stimulation through their sensory systems of vision, auditory, proprioception, tactile, and vestibular. We worked through trial and error to find the right amount and type of stimulation each student needed, and we watched them transform into different versions of themselves as their sensory needs were satisfied. We saw them become calmer, more collected, and able to focus better on single and fine motor tasks. Essentially, we learned that meeting these sensory needs of the students increased their fine motor skills that are needed to participate in the classroom, enhance their learning, and perform self-care activities.