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Sensory Seminar

Giving back to the volunteers of NMCTR has always been a priority for NMCTR. One way we like to do so, is by offering continuing education opportunities. We offer classes on different disabilities, different equine topics, and always seem to add in a potluck and social time as well!

I attended the last volunteer CEU: Sensational Sensory Seminar on July 10th, as an instructor that wanted to learn more. The Seminar was presented by Melissa Bartlett, an occupational therapist who has worked with children with disabilities in the school system for over 20 years. She did a fabulous seminar on the wonderful world of senses and how they affect behavior. We learned about how children with autism, learning disabilities, deafness and other diagnoses might react to sensory input; what are the three extra senses we are born with; and how this might relate to therapeutic riding. It was all very enlightening and helpful.

Here is what I took home from our sensory seminar: When working with children with a sensory processing disorder, I find it VERY important to listen. If we all just took the time to listen, and I don’t mean listen with your ears, listen to each child’s likes and dislikes, needs, and behaviors, we could accomplish so much more. Here is what I mean… When a child has a behavior, we often like to blame the child, the parenting, or whatever else comes to mind. However, if we took the time to understand that the environment, activity, or situation may be too over stimulating OR under stimulating, we could then make a connection to the so called “behavior”. Often, a behavior is a way of communicating. A child is trying to communicate something to you, so listen!

Understanding our senses and the behaviors that are often seen with a sensory processing disorder is the first step. I learned so much about the behaviors that are associated with sensory oversensitivity (sensory avoiding) and sensory undersensitivity (sensory seeking). The more knowledge we know, the easier it will be for us to listen. The more you know, the more you listen, the more you can plan, anticipate and assist a child when his/her sensory processing has been triggered. Its our job as instructors, teachers and family members to learn, understand and assist! I look forward to taking MORE time to listen to the kids in my therapeutic riding lessons and creating ways to assist them when triggered. When we listen, we are “Changing Lives One Stride at a Time!”  

Thank you Melissa for the wonderful seminar! If you would like to learn more about Sensory Processing Disorder, please contact us info@nmctr.org

Ashley Armijo Fischer, NMCTR Program Director