and adults with Sensory
Processing Disorder, or the older
Integration Dysfunction have difficulty
making sense of the world around them.
Impaired sensory information makes decisions
about how to respond to the world and what to
focus on and what to filter out as inaccurate.
It can also mean an extreme reaction
to an ordinary
situation involving parents, teachers,
employers, friends. Some characteristics are:
to or avoidance of touch, sound, movement,
smell, tastes and sights
under-reactivity to touch, sound, movement,
smell, tastes and sights
with transitions or changes in routine
problems -social & emotional issues
integration and sensory processing disorders make so
many things difficult for those with SPD and they work
so hard all of the time to compensate or regulate their
thoughts and actions that sometimes they have poor self
esteem, social shyness, anxiety, depression as time goes
by. Often they are misdiagnosed as having ADHD in school
and other settings. Almost always adults and children
with Sensory Processing Disorder suffer with poor
attention, moodiness and extraordinary frustration and
are often misunderstood and judged harshly.
My background in craniosacral therapy,
teaching, trauma resolution and SPD can help a great
deal. My personal experience with myself and my family
adds to my insight in working with SPD. My main
website is craniosacraltherapies.com
but this SPD website reflects
this specific area of Sensory Processing Disorder, the
application of Craniosacral Therapy, Strategy Sessions and
other modalities and information related.
In my own
experience, both as a therapist and as a parent,
a Craniosacral Therapist and/or
Occupational Therapist specifically
trained in sensory integration therapy &
SPD techniques can make a big difference,
working with proprioceptive, vestibular and
tactile approaches. Along with the help of
craniosacral therapy, sensory tools, a Sensory
Diet, Strategies and often trauma resolution
it is possible to integrate, regulate, retrain
and regain balance in the sensory system.
“Craniosacral therapy is a
non-invasive technique that facilitates the
body’s own healing process, balancing the
nervous system. Used in conjunction with
Sensory Integration therapy or alone, CST can
lay the groundwork for improved neurological
functioning, processing and integration of
sensory information.” Upledger Clinic
evidence that trauma resolution is an important
component of treating Sensory Processing Disorder as
well and is often a missing element in determining the
best program for SPD.
trained in SPD techniques with Dr. Robert Scaer,
trauma author and neurologist (The Trauma
Body Bears the Burden), and Ana do
Valle, OTR, SEP in a Sensory Processing
Disorder workshop. Since then a number of workshops
including Upledger's Sensory Integration training has
added to my practical
experience with clients.
Ana do Valle describes:
Processing Disorder is recognized as a major
cause of self impairment in children,
adolescents and adults. It is commonly present
in behavioral conditions such as anxiety
disorder, PTSD, ADHD and learning disabilities.
SPD may contribute to the development of many
poorly understood physical diseases and
Because there is
often a causal element of early or later trauma with
SPD, Ana do Valle practices Somatic Experiencing with
her patients, especially when she is working
internationally in crisis settings. That link of SPD
and kindling or cumulative trauma leads to
experiencing the world with over responsive or under
responsive sensory awareness which has an impact on
learning and skill.
In an interview
with me, Dr. Scaer further discussed this connection
of SPD and complex trauma:
- " SPD is the
behaviorial seed that sprouts and flourishes,
rendering the child exquisitely sensitive to
events that might be at all traumatic. It is
based on the cyclical autonomic dysregulation of
trauma, with both extremes of autonomic
expression. But rather than the restricted and
inadequate diagnosis of PTSD, the syndrome that
emerges with maturation is complex trauma...SPD
and complex trauma are the closest of relatives.
In both cases the treatment is primarily somatic
in nature and quality because words only address
the tip of the iceberg."
with Robert Scaer, MD and Victoria Behrends,
here is that SPD work must ideally include trauma
resolution work in addition to other therapies in
order to address the origins of sensory disorders that
have resulted from trauma, physical or emotional.
Dr. Scaer and Ana
do Valle are pioneers in this research and conduct
seminars for other leaders in this field illustrating
how to understand and work with this connection of SPD
Other leaders in
the field of trauma resolution are making the
connection with trauma and sensory disorders,
historically with PTSD and now with SPD.
Porges developed the PolyVagal Theory and
the Social Engagement Nervous System approach
to treating trauma and he has worked specifically with
sensory disorders, including Autism for years....and
NOW he has developed the Safe And Sound
Protocol, a five day Listening Program
Implemented by therapists trained by Integrated
Listening Systems--addressing Autism, PYSD, Anxiety
and other related conditions.
pioneering psychologist in trauma developed SE,
Somatic Therapy Waking the Tiger, Trauma and
Memory, and other excellent resources, and
it is a huge experience for me to be taking his
workshops over the years.
Trauma Connection to SPD
It was in Dr.
Porges' workshops that I was introduced to the trauma
connection, and then again with Scaer and do Valle,
and Levine and since then I have worked with these
ideas and have applied them to the clients that I have
with SPD and other disorders as well--Autism,
Aspergers, PTSD, ADD/ADHD, anxiety disorders and
difficulty with self-regulation and stress.
Safe And Sound
Now, in this past
March, 2017---the Safe And Sound Protocol,
developed by Dr. Stephen Porges, is a sound therapy
program, originally called The Listening Project and
discussed in his book The Polyvagal Theory
written in 2011. I've been waiting for it since
2010 when I took workshops with Porges--it is now here
and has been studied with excellent results with many
sensory disorders, particularly Autism-- and with
anxiety and trauma as well.
for the research and effective studies done on the use
of Safe And Sound Protocol or SSP
by professional therapists.
Also see the
description form the iLS website at the bottom of the
As of March, 2017, I am an Associate therapist,
and can refer locally.
In addition, in my own work I use sensory
resources and techniques for the teen or adult of
all ages with well planned interactive Strategy Sessions--I
may use any or a combination of these---and more: contact me here
Craniosacral therapy for physical,
emotional work and to balance the nervous
Stress and trauma
resolution, anxiety help, (Brainspotting
developed from EMDR), Comprehensive Resource
Model, Somatic CST
self-regulation, Sensory Diet and sensory activities
Activity cards from Brainworks®
(sensationalbrain.com), developed by Gwen
Wild, OTR, MOT as a communication tool
for the sensory diet and activities--and Onionhead®
emotion cards to help in expression of feelings
An individual Hair
Analysis report with my interpretation to determine
specific nutritional deficiencies or toxic
substances to be removed or balanced
Sound Protocol, Biofield Tuning---assigned
physical and creative activities to empower !
are also effective plans for other disorders
that may or may not involve SPD, already
mentioned--Autistic, Aspergers, PTSD, ADHD, and
Much of this work can be done
effectively by distance and often
I can help to find local resources for parents
and therapists. When a Strategy Session is combined with occupational and/or
craniosacral therapy and there is great
communication and synergy among the members of a
team--parents, therapists, teachers, great
improvement in sensory processing and
self-regulation can be made !
Session can also be for the
parent or partner of a teen or adult who has
sensory processing difficulties to help
understand what is going on, and to have a way
to express their thoughts, and work with
stress/trauma resolution or their own health.
Victoria Behrends - RCST®, HHP, MH,
CA teaching credential, M.A., 760-753-1493
I can be
found here and at craniosacraltherapies.com
And Sound Protocol Description:
from iLS integratedlistening.com
The "Safe And Sound Protocol" (SSP) is now
available as of March 7, 2017-- for professional use!
The SSP, formerly known as "The Listening Project
Protocol" is based on more than 40 years of research
investigating relationships between the autonomic nervous
system and social-emotional processes.
The SSP protocol is designed to exercise the neural
regulation of components of auditory system involved in
listening with specifically processed music.
Research suggests that following completion of the
intervention, individuals will have reduced auditory
hypersensitivities, improved auditory processing, improved
behavioral and emotional regulation and will be better
able to focus and attend in school, therapy and everyday
What IS THE Safe And Sound Protocol
Developed by Dr. Stephen Porges --------
the originator of The Polyvagal Theory
is a five-day intervention designed to reduce
stress and auditory sensitivity while enhancing
social engagement and resilience. By calming the
physiological and emotional state, the door is
opened for improved communication and more
therapy is showing significant results in just
five days in the following areas:
and emotional difficulties
Anxiety and trauma related
Stressors that impact social
and physiological state are critical to how we
approach a task at hand. So when a client has
better state control, not only can they be more
socially engaged, they are more open to therapy.
Better state regulation improves therapeutic
non-invasive intervention involves listening to
music that has been processed specifically to
re-tune the nervous system (regulating state) to
introduce a sense of safety and the ability to
socially engage. This allows the client to better
interpret not only human speech, but, importantly,
the emotional meaning of language.
interpersonal interactions improve, spontaneous
social behaviors and an enhanced ability to learn,
self-regulate and engage are often seen.
is available to professionals only – implemented
over 5 days in a row, an hour a day.
Calms the emotional and physiological state by
improving vagal regulation of the heart and
improving auditory functions
Addresses difficulties in social communication
One hour of vocal music per day for five
consecutive days, may be implemented in 30- minute
Accelerates subsequent therapies
DOES IT WORK?
Dr. Porges’ Polyvagal Theory, the program
is derived from nearly four decades of research on
the relationship between the autonomic nervous
system and social-emotional processes. It is
designed to stimulate nervous system regulation by
exercising systematically challenging the auditory
system with specifically processed music.
The music trains the auditory pathways by focusing
on the frequency envelope of human speech. As the
client learns to process these speech-related
frequencies, they improve the functioning of
cranial nerves that are important for promoting
overall social behavior.
Nerve VII (Facial Nerve) helps clients focus on
human voice and tune out irrelevant frequencies.
Nerve X (Vagus Nerve) enables self-soothing and
Following successful completion of the
intervention, individuals will be better able to
focus in school, therapy, and everyday life and
experience a calmed emotional and physiological
state. This is based on studies that suggest that
skills such as attention, state regulation and the
ability to engage socially will be enhanced.
Dr. Stephen W. Porges,
author of The Polyvagal Theory, is a
Distinguished University Scientist at the Kinsey
Institute, Indiana University and professor in
the department of psychiatry at the University
of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. stephenporges.com
Associate Provider for
Safe And Sound Protocol---SSP:
Contact Victoria Behrends - RCST®,
HHP, M.A., CA Teacher Credential
760-753-1493 or on contact page