First Step Georgia is implementing a Sensory Integration Program for the development of children with disabilities in its Tbilisi and Kutaisi Day Care Centers. Children with special needs often experience problems with sensory integration that can limit their future independence in everyday life (i. e. eating, getting dressed, bathing and so on). They find it difficult to adapt to their environment without assistance due to hypersensitivity or hyposensitivity to sensory inputs, or problems with coordination and movement. A child may have problems with balance and fall frequently, for example when going up or down stairs, or may have difficulty learning or using skills such as writing, drawing, using scissors or other tools.
Sensory integration is a neurological process when sensory input from the body and the environment is transmitted to the central nervous system, which then receives this information and coordinates behavior. Sensory integration helps us learn and perform the tasks of everyday life. They enhance a child's sensory integration and are keys to their overall development. A basic principle of sensory integration theory suggests working with children using games, as they learn about themselves and the surrounding world by playing.
A child with a sensory integration disorder cannot adapt to their environment and might experience problems related to attention deficit, hyperactivity, learning difficulties, challenging behavior, lack of social relations, uncoordinated movements, etc.
First Step Georgia offers children an individual Sensory Integration Program in a special Sensory Room that has objects and toys and audiovisual materials. The goal of the Program is to help children learn appropriate reactions to auditory, visual, olfactory, taste and tactile inputs so they can use these skills in their everyday environment.
In order to provide qualified Sensory Integration Program Occupational therapists of First Step Georgia took an online course at the Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) Foundation that is a world leader in research, education, and advocacy. FSG purchased the Assessment Toolkit and Working Guidelines for Children with Sensory Dysfunction developed by SPD Foundation professionals.