Being a parent is one of the most miraculous experiences that life’s journey gives many of us.

From the time you expect your child, to when they are born, through the infant, toddler and primary years, on to adolescence and their progression to adulthood, you are with them every step, cheering them on with unconditional love that is immeasurable.

Just as no child is the same, no parent is the same. You want them to live the very best life they can, and you want to do what you can to help them get there. This can mean different things for different people, but ultimately the aim is true.

The successful parent is the one who tries to understand their child for who he or she really is, and then helps them, as best as possible, by supporting a stable foundation and good mental health , so that they may meet well the great challenges that life will present. This involves meeting physiological needs, providing a safe and stable home, modelling good behaviour, and most importantly acknowledging and understanding what a child is telling you through his or her behaviours and addressing it appropriately.

Child development is a natural marathon not a sprint race

How a child develops is not a sprint race, it takes time and is a marathon that allows children to try and learn things through trial and error and play. Most children will develop at different rates to siblings and to peer groups. Children will also develop differently to how parents did. Genetics, environments, cultures, and technology vary over generations and have a part to play.

Good schooling facilitates development and learning and most importantly, productive failure which teaches children to problem solve, which is ultimately what is needed in day to day life, careers, and relationships. This requires a strong developmental foundation with mature underlying systems which facilitate cognitive skills and executive functioning (academic performance).

From centuries worth of medical and scientific data, we are able to calculate developmental ‘norms’ or ‘milestones’ that children are expected to achieve as they grow. These are broadly the same for all cultures and in both developed and developing countries. This helps parents and professionals (educational and medical) identify if there are any concerns.

When a child falls behind or experiences difficulties and there is no organic explanation (brain- injury, stroke, cerebral palsy) then it is important to investigate if one of his underlying foundational systems has gotten ‘stuck’ somewhere along the way.

Most medical professionals will look for an organic explanation. The expert medical professional who is trained in Sensory Integration and Neurodevelopment will look for underlying issues if an organic issue is not found.

Educators (teachers) will look to support through strategies targeting areas further up the Developmental Pyramid. Educators trained in Sensory Integration and Neurodevelopment will look for underlying issues that are curtailing academic/physical/social/emotional performance and causing certain issues.

Parents are by far the best placed to know when their child has a sensory problem but, too often, their concerns can be dismissed as ‘anxious or pushy parents’ with age-old sayings such as ‘ he’ll grow out of it’, ‘it’s just a phase’, ‘just being a boy’. If the family GP is not familiar with Sensory Processing Disorders (standard medical training does not cover it), it can result in an inappropriate referral or misdiagnosis.

It is advisable to raise any concerns you have about your child’s development at the earliest opportunity so that they can be investigated by a specialist developmental paediatrician or a paediatric Occupational Therapist specialising in a Sensory Integration and Neurodevelopmental approach.

There is understandably a natural reluctance for parents to raise concerns about their children’s development as they fear that they may be labelled, they may not get into the school of choice or their social status may be compromised. There is also perceived social stigma related to these concerns.

The ‘wait and see’ approach may be well intentioned but could result in prolonging or exacerbating issues, further impacting adversely on self-esteem, academic performance, and the family dynamic.

Symptoms Suggestive of Sensory-Integrative Dysfunction

If any of these symptoms are consistent with how your child or adolescent presents and you would like to discuss any specific concerns you have regarding your child’s foundational, physical, cognitive development or their mental health, please contact us directly for a complimentary initial consultation call.

Sterling Practice offers treatment services for patients aged 0-25 years old.

Sterling Practice is also very happy to speak to medical professionals or schools who are dismissive of Sensory Processing Disorder and offer them training to improve their understanding and treatment of developmental delays and disorders. This is part of our core mission statement.

Distance Services: For clients who are located outside London, Sterling Practice is able to offer a range of its multidisciplinary services including:

Assessment & Therapy programmes: where you come to one of our clinics for an initial assessment, get a home programme to follow , a classroom strategies program, and /or attend our online therapy sessions. We then recommend that you attend quarterly at one of our clinics for a review and update.

Therapy visits: we often have schools or have parent groups who buy in our services as a package. Members of our clinical team will travel to your location and offer assessment and therapy programme updates.

Parent Support Services:

Sterling Practice has a well-established programme of services we can offer parents including:

  • Parent consultations
  • Family sessions
  • Acceptance & Denial Consultations: where one or both parents (other caregiver) has difficulty in accepting their child’s presenting needs or diagnosis.
  • 1:1 Parenting Strategies
  • Group: parenting strategies
  • Expectant Parents and Parents of Infants – How to facilitate early development
  • Parenting Teenagers with SPD
  • Parenting for children with ADHD /ADDs
  • Parenting for children with ASD
  • Parenting for children with mental health concerns
  • Parent Information Lectures
  • Parenting Courses