Focuses on Function, Not Diagnosis

Traditionally if a child has a diagnosis of ADHD, medication is the go to. A diagnosis of OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) typically comes with a combination of medication and psychiatric intervention depending on the severity. Children with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) can be referred for any number of treatments depending on what is supported by the local medical community from play therapy, neuro-feedback, ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis), Occupational, Physical and Speech Therapy, etc., and for the child with Sensory Processing Disorder it is much the same.

For some children diagnosis can be a lengthy process, including anything, everything or nothing at all…it’s all over the board, as is treatment.

In-Tuned™ intentionally takes the focus off of the child’s diagnosis and on to the function of the child. For instance, it doesn’t matter what diagnosis the child has been given, if the child has difficulty settling for bed and staying asleep the same sensory supports can be successful. Why? The majority of children with brain-based disorders have awareness, attention and/or self-regulation issues, which interfere with their ability to function, and in this case their ability to lower their activity level enough to be ready for sleep. Bedtime rituals in preparation for sleep, and sleep is an important function for all of us, and a common problem for many of our children. Techniques to lower activity level, such as deep pressure on the feet and hands while telling a told story (not a picture book) in a low steady voice, and or use of low frequency music or sound can have the same positive impact on the child with ADHD or ASD, as they stimulate the areas of the brain to bring the arousal of the child down.

In-Tuned™ looks at the foundation of function in its simplest measurable form regardless of the diagnostic acronym that comes with the child. Is the child able to cross the vertical and horizontal midline of the body, engage their postural flexor muscles, synchronize arms and legs in different patterns, keep eyes focused on a stationary object? Does the child have low muscle tone, high muscle tone or retained reflexes? These are some of the indicators of a child’s level of function, and can be tracked as a measure of progress towards functional goals.

No matter the diagnosis, if the child has a brain-based disorder we can use a consistent approach, such as In-Tuned™ to capture current functional status and provide the sensory supports needed to build the awareness, attention and self-regulation needed to improve skills. It would be of more benefit to the child if we switched gears away from the diagnosis, diagnosing, and more towards function.




Julia Grover