FAQs - Maximum Potential

Frequently Asked Questions

Without proper understanding of a child’s or young person’s needs, followed by appropriate targeted support, he or she may not be able to adequately develop the foundational skills that are required to progress and perform at a higher level.

Children are also very good at masking their weaknesses instinctively. As he grows, and as the academic, social, and physical demands on him become greater, at some point his compensatory strategies may start to unravel and affect performance, confidence, social interaction and eventually life choices.

Where a child has sensory processing issues and/or neurodevelopmental issues that are affecting day to day life, it’s up to us as adults to give kids a level playing field. This starts with understanding what it is that is making them act a certain way/struggle with expected skill sets. If the base (foundation) of the pyramid is not secure, then each additional level is not secure (will be affected).

The earlier there is intervention, the more chance there is of addressing the issues for the best outcome possible for the child

Over the years, early years intervention has become an established norm. Health care professionals and educators are tasked with identifying foundational issues in children that should be investigated before they become more problematic.

They may not entirely be au fait with the intricate developmental pyramid, but they understand the overall concept and the flags.

Your child is perfect – of course she is. You have never loved something so much, to the point of any criticism is seen as an attack on her. It’s important to be honest with yourself – early identification is key to being able to deal with the issues before they start compounding.

Schools are busy places with lots of traffic. Children have to listen and carry out instructions when there are numerous distractions. A child with sensory processing issues may spend a lot of his time just trying to keep himself ‘there’ and misses much of what he’s trying to learn.

A child with sensory processing issues will instinctively try his very best to try and regulate himself to a state where he can manage ‘to be in the room’ – however, the methods he uses to regulate himself can often be perceived by the wider world (home and school) as either being fidgety, disruptive or ill-mannered, antisocial or alternatively very compliant, risk-averse and cautious. The former is a ‘problem’ for teachers, the latter is a ‘dream’ – both need support if their academic and co-curricular progress is impacted. Also, please keep in mind that home is a ‘safe’ place, where expectations and even parent behaviour is predictable/familiar. Demands are often less than in school, and again, predictable from a schedule standpoint.

We work with children and young adults in the age range 0-25.

For teenagers and young adults, there are many exercises and strategies we can use to help underlying sensory issues get the input they need to develop, thus helping the teen/young adult regulate themselves, anticipate problem situations and prepare for them, and better understand good and bad choices. It will help anxiety, self-esteem, attention, focus and social skills, but most importantly self-awareness.

Some children will do everything they can to just hold it together outside home, through cognitive override, which is exhausting for anyone, and then come home and have a meltdown. Much of this is tiredness from having to concentrate so hard all day without getting the sensory input they need to regulate themselves properly.

Urged to perform at a level beyond their developmental stage, children may develop splinter skills. These are skills that haven’t developed in proper sequence. Because most skills develop, and cannot be taught, splinter skills don’t become fully integrated in a child’s skill set. The effects of out-of-sequence skill development may become obvious only when a child is expected to do such complex motor and cognitive activities as reading and writing or physical activities that require sophisticated motor skills and cognitive skills such as team sports.

Handwriting issues rarely occur in isolation. It is important to consider the core, postural control, and shoulder girdle stability, all of which allow a child to develop good, isolated hand and finger development. One also needs good fine motor (finger) proprioception skills to develop the ability to automatically, without constant cognitive and visual direction, form shapes, numbers, and letters.

Movement facilitates, learning, language development, memory, and focus/attention. Movement stimulates the vestibular system, which in turn helps to regulate muscle tone and eye-tracking skills, as well as self-regulation, which includes focus/attention, distractibility, activity level (hyperactive or hypoactive or fluctuating/unpredictable), and organisational skills.

Parents are excited when their child attempts something new. A 9-month-old’s parents may try to encourage his interest in walking by holding his hands to steady him. However, by doing this, the child may end up skipping the crawling stage. Crawling is very important in that it is the start of developing shoulder girdle stability (needed to support refined hand and finger movements), tactile development, as the child’s hands move over carpet, linoleum/tiles, wood floors, grass, sand, dirt, etc.. Crawling also helps to develop head and neck extension muscles and eye muscle control. Once a child starts to walk, you can’t make them go back to crawling, but you can play crawling games with your child, as well as other activities to develop the neuromuscular and sensory skills listed above.

A child with Sensory Processing Issues needs first and foremost, understanding of his needs, consistent support from home, school, therapy, and structure. A graded approach is needed.
You will become skilled at recognising what is sensory (and out of his control) and what is behavioural (within his control). Understanding, structure, and support for the former, boundaries and appropriate rewards / sanctions for the latter. You’ll also start to recognise and understand the sophisticated avoidance techniques and protective mechanisms that you child employs, due to his underlying sensory issues versus viewing them as just oppositional behaviour.

Practice makes perfect – maybe, but only for that skill… and actually can just create a splinter skill (discussed above), which will not generalize to other tasks. Refer back to the developmental pyramid – just working on writing a’s and b’s may help a child perfect these, but then writing other letters may not then flow naturally. Likewise, perfecting writing due to repetition doesn’t necessarily mean writing speed will improve (as his approach is now cognitive vs automatic), scissor skills or playing the violin will follow. You have to address the foundational issue.
Your child will be eager to please you and comply, if you insist on cognitive override, you will either achieve a splinter skill or you will achieve avoidant behaviour or a meltdown – neither are the outcome you are actually seeking.

We are generally able to offer an assessment within a few weeks.

Please have a look at the selection of stories under the Children tab of this website.

If the assessment were undertaken by a fellow professional and was within the last 6 months, we would be happy to start therapy. However, we will take the first couple of sessions to perform a screening evaluation of our own, to get a baseline idea of areas of strength, areas where your child may still be struggling, and perform tests that were not done in your previous assessment. We will then set up a time to meet with you and/or caregivers to discuss the therapy plan.

We always recommend that our reports are made available to all adults working with your child, so that they can also better understand his or her needs and incorporate recommendations for support. Our recommendations are reasonable and intended to be easily incorporated by the classroom teachers.

We would be happy to discuss our impression of your child’s presenting needs and our recommendations with school, usually through a school visit. We often find that following this then improves understanding of how they can support your child and also sometimes identifies a training need at the school which we can also address.

Dyspraxia, is a common disorder affecting fine and/or gross motor coordination in children and adults. Dyspraxia / DCD is distinct from other motor disorders such as cerebral palsy and stroke and occurs across the range of intellectual abilities. Often, children and young adults present with underlying delays in proprioceptive and vestibular development, which present as ‘Dyspraxia’. Individuals may vary in how their difficulties present: these may change over time depending on environmental demands and life experiences and will persist into adulthood but can be mitigated and supported through therapy and strategies.

Part I is an assessment by an Occupational Therapist.

Part II: the diagnosis is confirmed by a paediatrician who concurs that there is no underlying organic issue.

Part I is sufficient for concessions for examinations and school.

Educational Psychologists, Specialist Teachers and GPs cannot diagnose dyspraxia, they may only indicate opinion.

If there is an appropriate space available for suspension equipment. We offer interventive rather than compensatory therapy and therefore need access to the correct apparatus required for SI therapy so that there is sustainable progress achieved for the child.

Ideally a child should be seen weekly whilst receiving therapy provision. However, we do offer intensive blocks of sessions during half terms and holidays

In order for sustainable progress to be made, it is important that therapy is given priority. Furthermore, it is important to note that a child with Sensory Processing Difficulties needs a lot of down time /non directed play time, so that they can better regulate themselves, especially after a busy day at school.

We offer a Distance Learning service as well an integrated online service.

Part I is an assessment by an Occupational Therapist.

Part II: the diagnosis is confirmed by a paediatrician who concurs that there is no underlying organic issue.

Part I is sufficient for concessions for examinations and school.

Educational Psychologists, Specialist Teachers and GPs cannot diagnose dyspraxia, they may only indicate opinion.