After becoming an SLPA, I quickly learned how important continuing education classes are in staying up to date on research and new findings in the speech and language world. As a therapist, there will always be material to learn and skills to brush up on. I am so happy I am able to be apart of these learning experiences with my colleagues at Excel Care Therapy. I recently attended a webinar titled “Primitive Reflex Integration through Neuroplasticity”. There are many takeaways from this webinar and I was taught a few therapy techniques that I will start implementing in my therapy sessions. One small, but important thing that I learned to always consider during therapy is the amount of noise that are present during therapy.
All infants are born with primitive reflexes, a reflex action exhibited in response to stimuli. A typically developing child’s primitive reflexes will suppress as they develop and as adults, they will not be displayed anymore. Many clients that I see as an SLPA have not outgrown these primitive reflexes because they do not have typically developing brains. These clients can have a heightened sense of hearing or smell thus taking this into thought during therapy is very important.
Noises and smells can play a big role in productivity for an individual in therapy. For example, imagine you are trying to get work done but you are over stimulated with sounds. Imagine you hear people talking, cars driving by, music, text message notifications, the microwave beeping and hammering from a worker outside. Do you think whatever work you complete that day will be your best work? I do not believe it would be. Now consider a child who does not have a typically developing brain. This child already processes slower than the typical individual and this child may have heightened senses as well. If there are many noises present during the session, do you think they will be able to learn and process as well as if the room was quiet? It would be very difficult for the child to overcome the noises around him or her and also process the information in front of them. This child may act out and have an “off” day, but would not necessarily be able to communicate this to a therapist. Noises are such an important factor to learning productivity and being aware of these unwanted stimuli can create the best learning environment for clients.
By Kristine R