Children with profound hearing impairments are receiving cochlear implants at an increasingly younger age resulting in the need for early therapeutic support and intervention. Besides the obvious concerns regarding speech and language development, children with cochlear implants are also at risk for motor and balance deficits.
This was a retrospective, longitudinal, experimental holistic single case study. The aim was to determine the impact of Ayres Sensory Integration® on occupational performance in a child with bilateral cochlear implants within the first four years after implantation. Six objectives were addressed. Quantitative and qualitative methods were used including designing an observation tool, administering stardardised tests, conducting a parent interview and obtaining perspective from the cochlear team to obtain rich in-depth knowledge and perspective. Pre- and post-intervention results were compared to determine changes in sensory perception, sensory reactivity, motor development and participation in occupations. Intervention adhered to the fidelity requirements of Ayres Sensory Integration®.
Results indicated that there were positive changes in the child’s sensory processing and participation in occupations. Ayres Sensory Integration® was therefore an effective therapeutic approach for this child with cochlear implants. The cochlear team gained valuable insights and the parents indicated that occupational therapy intervention had a significant impact on the whole family unit. This study can contribute to the professional body of knowledge by building onto the knowledge base and skills repertoire regarding the application of therapeutic principles to children with cochlear implants. The occupational therapist can make a valuable contribution to the cochlear team. Optimal integration of sensory input can assist with promoting cochlear usage, not only for acquiring language, but also for developing age-appropriate skills at a critical stage of development to facilitate successful participate in childhood occupations.
Dissertation (MOccTher)--University of Pretoria 2020.