Sensory modulation refers to our ability to organise sensory information. Every day our brain needs to process and regulate sensory inputs from our environment as we see, touch, smell, hear and taste things around us.
Sometimes, a brain injury, developmental disorders or life experience can affect the way we regulate these senses, and we find we’re suddenly more sensitive, seeking or avoiding situations where sensory modulation intervention becomes useful.
You may need some help in identifying which senses your brain is having difficulty modulating (regulating) and exploring some strategies to help with this. Our occupational therapists are experienced in using a range of sensory modulation techniques and activities to help you manage your sensory response behaviour.
Benefits of sensory modulation
There are a number of ways you can benefit from sensory therapy
- Improve how you manage situations where you feel anxious or agitated
- Help you feel calm
- Increase your self-awareness
- Improve your resilience
- Help you engage in meaningful activities
- Increase your ability to cope with triggers
- Distract you from sensory experiences you don’t like or can’t tolerate
Our occupational therapists will undertake an assessment to develop a treatment plan that is individually tailored to your needs. Everyone is different and we all process sensory stimuli in different ways, regardless of whether we have had a brain injury or not, and what’s calming to you, may be upsetting to someone else. Here are some examples of commonly used modulation interventions:
- Weighted blankets – for those who like the feeling of being held or hugged, or perhaps don’t like this feeling but would like to increase their tolerance to this
- Earplugs for noisy environments or big meetings where the volume gets too loud
- Chewing gum or eating sour candies when anxious about something and needing to distract your attention from this
At Independent Rehabilitation Services, our occupational therapists exercise clinical reasoning and judgement before implementing sensory strategies and where possible base these clinical decisions on the available evidence in the literature.
There are a broad range of interventions we can use, and yours will be assessed on an individual basis to know what best works for you and how your brain processes senses.
For health professionals
Our specialist occupational therapy services are available in home and community settings across greater metropolitan Melbourne and Geelong. We are also experienced in delivering occupational therapy including sensory modulation assessments and therapy using telehealth to clients across Australia.
If you would like to send a referral for occupational therapy or would like to find out more about our sensory modulation therapy please contact our referral team on (03) 9885 2533 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
We take an evidence based approach to sensory modulation and our occupational therapy team has delivered research, articles and papers on the subject, including TAC funded research on sensory modulation interventions in adults with Acquired Brain Injury (ABI). Learn more about our research and staff publications.