Questions and Answers

The following are answers to the questions that parents/carers asked in the Lancashire and Cumbria Sensory Education session that was held in November 2021. 

Do all children with SEN have sensory processing difficulties?

Not necessarily. We all process sensory information and we all do it differently regardless of whether we have SEN or not. It’s only a problem if we are not able to do what we want and need to do. Sometimes children can have difficulties due to communication, anxiety etc and it may present as a sensory strategy that they are using to cope.

What is the science behind why sensory processing difficulties start/happen and is there any current research being done?

The best place for more information on this is the Sensory Intergration Education website

How or who would do assessments for a sensory profile/diet please?
Who could help us with better understanding what senses our child struggles with?
How do parent/carers find the correct people who have the ’skills’ to interpret checklist and do assessment?
Can I self-refer to get an assessment?

Unfortunately services are not commissioned in a way that allows all children across Lancashire and Cumbria with sensory processing needs to access group based, or 1-2-1 support based on need. There are also not the resources available to change this at present. We have acknowledged this and are working to address this and this is one reason why we have put this training together so that parents/carers are able to get some information and ideas about strategies to help their children in the interim. 

If you have not been able to access support with sensory issues through your local Occupational Therapy or Learning Disability team in your area, we are sorry but it is likely that there is not commissioned support available. 

Please note that not every child with sensory processing needs requires an individual assessment. Changes to a child’s environment and routine can be made in a plan-do-review approach in the absence of an assessment, although we appreciate that having a skilled professional to guide you through this process may be helpful. We also appreciate that there are some children with a high level of sensory processing needs who would benefit from a 1-2-1 assessment with a skilled professional. 

In some circumstances, Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) may commission an independent Occupational Therapy provider to carry out a holistic occupational therapy assessment including a sensory profile or assessment. This will be based on individual need and will require clinician recommendation and a clinician to submit a request for funding to the relevant CCG for the CCG to consider. Your care coordinator will lead this process. 

As mentioned in the presentation, Lancashire and south Cumbria NHS are currently awaiting the outcome of the commissioning policy for Ayres Sensory Integration Therapy ® specifically. This policy will outline what CCGs will and will not commission in relation to Sensory Integration Therapy ® assessment and treatment. 

Please go to Further Information and Support for more information about sensory processing needs and other sources of support.


Page last reviewed: 23/03/2023

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