The Dunn’s Model of Sensory Processing proposes four basic patterns of sensory processing which are emerged from the interaction of the neurological threshold and self-regulation. Neurological threshold is a personal range of threshold for noticing and responding to different sensory events in everyday life. People who have low sensory threshold would notice and respond to stimuli more often because their neurological system activates easier and more readily to sensory events. On the other hand, people who have high sensory threshold often miss stimuli that others notice easily because their neurological system requires stronger stimuli to activate. Self-regulation is a continuum of behavioral construct. One end indicates those who have a passive strategy towards sensory events, for instance, remaining at a place with many sensory inputs that makes him/her feel uncomfortable and reacts with frustration. The other end indicates people who utilize an active strategy, for instance, adjusting one’s position to get a manageable amount of sensory input. Therefore, the four patterns can be resulted from the intersection of the neurological threshold and self-regulation; they are (1) sensation seeking (high threshold and active self-regulation strategy), (2) sensory avoiding (low thresholds and active self-regulation strategy), (3) sensory sensitivity (low threshold and passive self-regulation strategy), and (4) low registration (high threshold and passive self-regulation strategy). Individuals with extreme responses to sensory event are likely to have interfered daily life. This model provides assessment and intervention strategies for therapists in promoting people’s participation in important domains.
Sensory processing disorder
Domain of occupation
This model provides specific intervention strategies for supporting individuals with different patterns of sensory processing.
Dunn, W. (2007). Supporting children to participate successfully in everyday life by using sensory processing knowledge. Infant and Young Children, 20, 84-101.
The theoretical base of biomechanical frame of reference (FOR) is considered as a remedial approach focusing on impairments that limit occupational performance. This FOR assumes clients are able to acquire the voluntary motor skills necessary to perform the desired human occupation, meaning that the underlying impairment is amenable to remediation. It also assumes that engaging in occupation and therapeutic activities has the potential to remediate the underlying impairment, and results in improvement in occupational performance.
This model of practice is based on the theoretical concepts relating to the child, environment, task, and the interaction among these key factors and the child’s participation in different occupations. A goodness-of-fit of those factors is necessary for successful participation in occupations.
The clinical reasoning framework aims to guide practitioners in selecting strategies in approaching sensory challenges in order to optimize participation of children with autism spectrum disorder. Several clinical reasoning considerations are based on this framework, and these include research evidence, client- and family-centeredness, practice contexts, occupation-centeredness, and risks. This framework emphasizes on the use of mutual information-sharing and coaching to empower families or teachers and develop their own solutions to supporting children’s participation.
Sensory Integration Theory aims to explain behaviors, plan intervention, and predict behavioral change through intervention, and provide specific intervention strategies to remediate the underlying sensory issues that affect functional performance. It purposes therapeutic interventions that incorporate sensation to affect multi-sensory perception to influence learning and behavior, as the central nervous system does not process sensory information in isolation.
The Sensory Integration (SI) frame of reference focuses on how the interaction between the sensory systems including auditory, vestibular, proprioceptive, tactile, and visual systems, provides integrated information that contributes to a child’s learning and adaptive behaviors. The key consideration is that children have the abilities to make adaptive responses to constantly changing sensory environments. The sensory integrative abilities include sensory modulation, sensory discrimination, postural-ocular control, praxis, bilateral integration, and sequencing.