I am an Occupational Therapist and an SI Practitioner, completing my practitioner training in 2018. I work in a community multi-disciplinary team within Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust working with adults with learning disabilities.
Some of the sensory referral requests are for young adults transitioning from school to adult services. Sometimes they have had sensory profiles completed, but others may not have received any sensory assessments throughout their childhood. I have recently been working with a young woman in transition from children’s services. The OT role involved a sensory profile as part of an autism assessment, plus making links with her school, who had previously assessed her sensory needs. It was good to be able to compare results and ensure there is carry over to my client’s home life. Some strategies and equipment that are working at school, are not at home, as she compartmentalises her activities. So, my role is to provide education at home with her family and be creative to identify alternative sensory strategies to support her modulation needs.
It is very difficult when young adults leave the structured environment of a school. Often there are many changes to their lifestyle – new education facilities and/or daytime activity opportunities led by private providers and also possible move to new accommodation from their family homes. Where their sensory needs were being met in the structured school setting these key changes can upset their sensory balance in their new lifestyle and impact on how they interact and function in their daily life. With my client, I am also working on independence skills at home with personal care as the sensory assessment highlighted a sensory basis to her function, for example being able to tip her head back to wash her hair.
As I work in the community, I do not have access to an ASI clinic resource, so recommendations and interventions have to be creative looking at a person’s daily life, access to resources, supporting sensory diets and training and education with carers.